– Defence seeks to have DPP’s order quashed
Magistrate Renita Singh yesterday reopened the Marcus Bisram case at the Whim Magistrate’s Court. On the previous court date she had discharged the case for lack of enough evidence, setting Bisram free. But that freedom only lasted a few hours, as he was rearrested the same day (Monday) in Berbice, an action based on instructions from the DPP.
Shortly after, the DPP released a statement to the press and outlined that after requesting the court documents from the Magistrate and “having been satisfied that there was sufficient evidence contained therein for him to have been committed”, she had “directed the Magistrate to re-open the Preliminary Inquiry (Pl)”.
However, during yesterday’s court proceedings, while Magistrate Singh re-opened the PI, she has also decided to stick by her ruling – that is, to not commit Bisram for trial in the High Court. She referenced her previous ruling and noted that her decision to not commit was based on the prosecution’s lack of enough evidence in the case.
Prior to Magistrate Singh’s stance on the matter, Bisram’s defence team, comprising Attorneys Glenn Hanoman, Bernard DaSilva and Dexter Todd, argued that Bisram was re-arrested and is being held in custody unlawfully.
Hanoman in his argument said that the DPP’s powers are not “unfettered” and should not be exercised “whimsically or capriciously”. Later, in his arguments he told the court that the DPP has no power to “even mention the word committal at this stage…and no opinion can be formed about a view to commit at this stage”. He mentioned that their (defence’s) intention is to raise the constitutional issues in the High Court.
Senior Attorney from the DPP Chambers (Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions) Stacy Goodings, representing the prosecution, in her response to the defence stated that the letter was clear for the PI to be re-opened and the defendant to be committed to stand trial before the high court, and that any other concerns the defence has should be put before the Court of Appeal.
Furthermore, Goodings pointed out to the court that the defence is attempting to pervert the course of justice, and that the DPP acted in a lawful capacity when the orders were handed down to have Bisram re-arrested and committed to stand trial in the High Court.
The proceedings prolonged with back and forth arguments until Magistrate Singh subsequently disclosed to the court that her decision that a Prima Facie case was not made out stands, and that the court will not commit the accused. She then adjourned the matter for Monday (April 6) until further advice can be sought from the DPP.
Meanwhile, the defence has indicated their intention to approach the High Court to have the order by the DPP quashed. That was expected to be filed yesterday, according to Defence Attorney Glenn Hanoman.
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