Sep 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – On Thursday, Justice Franklyn Holder will rule on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, appeal of Senior Magistrate Leron Daly’s decision to have former Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO), Roxanne Myers’ matters be tried indictably instead of summarily.
The DPP had initiated legal proceedings in the High Court seeking orders to quash the Magistrate’s decision to hold a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the electoral fraud case against Myers.
According to the case which was filed on behalf of the DPP through attorneys, Darshan Ramdhani QC, Glenn Hanoman, Ganesh Hira, George Thomas and Mark Conway, the applicant seeks a declaration that the decision made by Magistrate, Daly to hold a PI into the misconduct allegations, engages the provisions of Article 144 of the Constitution with the likely result that the case may not be tried within a reasonable time.
As such, the DPP asked for an order of certiorari to quash Daly’s decision to hold a PI into Myers case on the grounds that it is irrational, ultra vires, illegal, without legal foundation, without legal authority and contrary to natural justice.
The DPP also seeks a declaration in accordance with the Judicial Review Act that in the circumstances of the charges, and in compliance with the constitution, that the two charges against Myers proceeds by way of summary trial. The DPP also asks that Magistrate Daly reconsider her discretion afresh under Section 61 of the Summary Jurisdiction Procedure Act Cap 10:02.
On the grounds to support her application, the DPP relied on Article 187 of the Constitution, which she notes gives her office supervision over all criminal matters within Guyana. Further, the applicant explained that the charge against Myers is classified in criminal procedure as a ‘hybrid offence,’ which can be heard and determined indictable or summary – heard and determined by the Magistrate’s Court.
On February 11, 2021, the Magistrate ruled that the two charges for misconduct in public office against Myers will remain indictable which would require her to conduct a PI to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial in the High Court.
The charges against Myers allege that between March 4 and March 14, 2020, in Georgetown, while being a public officer, she willfully misconducted herself together with Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, and others, to declare a fraudulent account of votes for the March 2020 General and Regional Elections which amounted to a breach of the public’s trust in the office of the DCEO of GECOM. She is currently on $300,000 bail for the two cases. Magistrate Daly has since embarked on holding a PI to determine whether there is enough evidence against Myers for her to face trial in the High Court. The Magistrate had reasoned, inter alia, that the case should not be tried summarily “since the matter is a very serious matter.”
In court documents, the DPP contends that the course of Magistrate Daly’s action will lead to undue delay of the proceedings. According to the DPP, the Magistrate failed to consider that the High Court could impose no greater penalty than the Magistrate’s Court on any conviction for the offences and erroneously preceded on the basis that the High Court could in certain circumstances impose a greater penalty for offences charged than was possible for a Magistrate to impose.
The DPP said that the Magistrate in her ruling stated that the charges against Myers were serious and should be heard indictable, likening the offences to charges for robbery under-arms.
However, the DPP noted that the decision of Magistrate Daly offends Article 144 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana, which provides that all criminal cases should be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
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