Jul 15, 2008 News Comments Off on High Court stymies Hinckson’s bail
– defence attorneys cry injustice
Justice William Ramlall is calling on Chief Magistrate (ag) Melissa Robertson-Ogle to justify granting bail to former army lieutenant, Oliver Hinckson, on the charge of advocating a terrorist act.
Hinckson was granted $1M bail on Friday last by the Magistrate after being incarcerated for more than four months.
Detective Corporal Suraj Singh moved to the High Court yesterday and obtained an Order Nisi of Certiorari directed to Magistrate Robertson-Ogle and Director of Prisons, Dale Erskine.
Corporal Singh had made an application for a writ of certiorari to bring up and quash the decision of the Chief Magistrate on the ground that she erred and acted in excess of her jurisdiction when a bail application relating to the same matter was also engaging the attention of Chief Justice, Ian Chang.
According to Singh’s affidavit, he is stationed at the Criminal Investigation Department and instituted charges of sedition and advocating a terrorist act against Oliver Hinckson on March 11, 2008.
An application for bail, it added, was filed by the Applicant and on July 11, 2008, the matter was heard before the Chief Justice Chang, who admitted the applicant to bail on the sedition charge in the sum of $100,000.
“I am informed by the Counsel for the Respondent in the referred bail application that the Honourable Chief Justice pronounced that in the charge for advocating a terrorist act, he would expect that the hearing would be expedited and that he was further adjourning the said application to the 11th day of August 2008, when he would consider whether the applicant should be admitted to bail depending on the report.”
Singh stated in the affidavit that despite the order by the Chief Justice, he has been informed by Mr. Robert Tyndall, an Inspector of the Guyana Police Force, that on July 11, last, Magistrate Roberston-Ogle made an order admitting the said Oliver Hinckson to bail for the offence of advocating a terrorist act.
He added that he has been advised by his attorneys-at-law and do verily believe that the Chief Magistrate had no jurisdiction to grant bail to the accused, Oliver Hinckson, when the matter came up before her on Friday in view of the fact that the bail application for advocating a terrorist act was pending before the Chief Justice who had pronounced on the said matter.
“I have been advised by my attorneys-at-law that in the circumstances there was no concurrent jurisdiction in the application for bail before the Learned Chief Magistrate (ag) with the Honourable Chief Justice, since the said jurisdiction of the Chief Magistrate on such an application had been ousted.”
An affidavit was also filed by Inspector Robert Tyndall, who stated that although he was the Court Prosecutor on Friday when Hinckson was granted bail by the Chief Magistrate, he was not given an opportunity to either object or accede to the application for bail.
About 15 minutes after the order was granted by Justice Ramlal, lawyers for Oliver Hinckson responded and made an application for the order to be suspended. They are to return to the court today on their application.
On July 4, Hinckson’s matters were transferred to from Court 2 to Court 1 of the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court for Friday.
On Friday, when the matter was called before Magistrate Robertson-Ogle, Hinckson’s lawyers argued that it was unlawful for the matter to be transferred to that court and to be presided over by the Principal Magistrate, having already been started in another court.
Defence Counsel Vic Puran, who led the defence team, told the Magistrate that it is unlawful and a grave injustice for the matter to be transferred.
Puran argued that the matter has been substantially part heard by Magistrate Gordon Gilhuys and it would be unfair for another magistrate to preside over the matter.
It was further noted by Hinckson’s attorney that the transfer was not done on a court date assigned to the accused. No hearing was afforded to the accused; no reason was given for the transfer and further, Mr. Gilhuys is still the sitting magistrate, the defence argued.
“This court cannot usurp trial over Mr. Hinckson, unless this court is satisfied that he is properly before you (the court),” Puran argued. He further pointed out that the fact that the case has taken the course it has means the state is unable to proceed.
After listening to the arguments, Magistrate Robertson-Ogle said the matter will be called again on July 24.
To date Hinckson’s defence team has managed to secure bail for the offences for which he is currently before the court. For the arms and ammunition charge Hinckson was granted bail to the tune of $85,000, and for the sedition charge he was granted $100,000 bail.
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