Aug 04, 2020 News Comments Off on DPP withdraws private criminal charges filed against GECOM Chair
Five days after three private criminal charges were filed against the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, alleging misconduct in public office, the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) yesterday dismissed the charges.
In a letter, which the Director of Public Prosecution, Shalimar Ali-Hack, sent to the Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, the Ali-Hack stated, “In exercise of the powers conferred on me by Article 187 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, I hereby discontinue the charge in the above matter.”
According to Article 187:1, “The Director of Public Prosecutions (referred to in this article as ‘the Director’) shall have power in any case in which he or she considers it desirable to do so – (a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court, other than a court martial, in respect of any offence against the law of Guyana. (b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and (c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or her or any other person or authority.”
The complainants that filed the charges against the GECOM Chair were Lorraine Joseph of 16 Melanie Danishana, East Coast Demerara; Onita Walcott of 25 Section B, Victoria Village, East Coast Demerara; and Keith Ondaan of 2987 Central Amelia’s Ward, McKenzie Linden. The three charges were filed under the
Common Law Act, alleging that the GECOM Chair in the State of Guyana acted recklessly and unlawfully when she refused to accept the CEO’s report, disregarded the advice of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, and breached the Recount Order in the Official Gazette.
The first charge, filed by Walcott, states that Claudette Singh, being appointed and performing duties of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, at Lot 41 High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, between March 14, 2020, and June 23, 2020, acted recklessly and unlawfully when she refused to accept the CEO’s report on the March 2, Regional and General Elections 2020.
The second charge, filed by Ondaan, is that Claudette Singh, being appointed and performing duties of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Lot 41 High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, acted recklessly and unlawfully when she disregarded the advice of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel Mr. Charles Fung-A-Fat, SC on May 17, 2020 and knowingly caused the Gazetting of Recount Order in the Official Gazette on May 4, 2020, and an Amended Recount Order on May 29, 2020. Fung-A-Fat had advised the AG earlier in the year that a recount of the votes of the March 2, 2020 Regional and General Elections would be unlawful and unconstitutional.
The last charge, filed by Joseph, is that Claudette Singh, being appointed and performing duties of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Lot 41 High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, acted recklessly and unlawfully between May 29, 2020 and June 23, 2020, when she breached the Recount Order gazetted in the Official Gazette on May 4, 2020, and Amended Recount Order on May 29, 2020. The charges were, however, never served on the GECOM Chair.
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