DPP seeks to quash judge’s bail order
The Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday filed a motion in the High Court, seeking to set aside Justice Bovell Drakes’s order to grant bail to murder accused Treon Sumner.
However, because of a technicality, the motion was withdrawn and is scheduled to be re-presented today.
Sumner, along with Squincy McLennan, is facing a High Court trial for the murder of Odinga Bryan, which occurred six years ago.
Yesterday, as the in-chamber matter was called before Justice Diana Insanally, Attorney at law Basil Williams represented the accused, while attorneys Anil Nandlall and Manoj Narayan, appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
After a brief hearing with the judge, the three attorneys emerged from chambers and stated that the motion, which was earlier, filed had been withdrawn. Attorney at law Anil Nandlall in an invited comment told Kaieteur News that he received certain information after he had filed the original motion. In those circumstances, the lawyer said that he has asked for leave so that he could include the new information.
On Tuesday last, in another landmark High Court ruling, Justice James Bovell-Drakes, granted Sumner his pre-trial liberty because of the failure of the Director of Public Prosecutions to obey an order of the court.
Sumner, who was committed to stand trial for the murder of Odinga Bryan, was granted bail in the sum of $300,000 by Justice Bovell-Drakes, on Tuesday last. The Judge stopped short of citing the DPP for contempt.
Bail was not considered for the other murder accused Squincy McLennan, since he is facing another indictment for murder.
The issue of bail was prompted by the prosecution’s position that they were not in position to proceed with the matter, despite an order by the judge.
The judge had earlier ordered that prosecution present the indictment at the next hearing, which they did not.
But instead of presenting the case against Sumner and McLennan, State Prosecutor Priteema Kissoon presented another matter, which prompted the Judge to question the position taken by the DPP, in violation of his order. He made the point that the prosecution was trying to conveniently mislead the court.
“The DPP cannot sit in her office and direct this court without taking steps to set aside the order,” the judge had stated.
Defence Counsel Williams who gave the media a synopsis of what happened yesterday, accused the DPP of being repressive.
The prominent attorney at law said that he had received certain information which suggested that the DPP filed a motion against the Attorney General challenging Justice Bovell-Drakes’s granting of bail.
He offered that the present situation points to a system that is trying to imprison innocent people.
The lawyer further told the media that the DPP is seeking powers of appeal, which he highly opposes.
Williams stressed that even after six years in jail the powers are still trying to have his client imprisoned.
Williams had earlier said that the charges against his clients, who were 17 years old at the time of their arrests, are specious, and were designed to give the impression that the police have done their work.
“We’re saying, if you are so confident that these are the young men who did the murder, then bring them on for trial. How could you stay six years and you’re still asking for excuses not to try them. It’s oppressive, it’s unconstitutional and it’s discriminatory. Justice was done…because it was time that the DPP understands that the DPP is not above the law,” Williams said.
Kaieteur News also understands that efforts are being made to have the judge removed from hearing the case.
This newspaper learnt that a motion, which was seen by this newspaper, insists the judge would be prejudicial if he continues to hear the case. It was also stated that Sumner’s name was not on the judge’s itinerary, but he ordered the police to bring Sumner out of the prison.
The first time that a judge had granted bail to a murder accused was the Chief Justice, in the case of Hemchand Persaud. Persaud was charged for a double-murder, and spent also eight years in prison. However, he never got a hearing to date.