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Prosecution presents truckload of evidence to Magistrates’ Court; concerns raised about security

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2021, 12:47 by Denis Chabrol

The Prosecution on Monday presented a truckload of Statements of Poll, Statements of Recount and other evidence in an unprecedented electoral fraud case to the Magistrates Court and the defendants.

Prosecutor, Attorney-at-Law Darshan Ramdhani said the evidence consists of four boxes for each of the seven defendants and the Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan.

The case has been adjourned to December 17, 2021 at 10 AM to allow the defence to read through the documents to prepare for the trial.  On that date, the Court would set a case management schedule for the trial.

The Chief Magistrate said “we are still trying to figure out” where the boxes of documents would be stored. She said the Clerk of Court would determine where the documents would be stored. “I don’t know if we have space for them,” she said.

He expressed grave concern about the security of the Statements of Poll if they are to remain outside the courthouse for another day. He feared that the “highly sensitive” documents would not be “completely secure” after they leave the custody of the police and are handed over to the court.  He hoped that the boxes of documents could be handed over to each defendant on Monday through a “smooth” process to avoid any hiccups during the trial.

Noting that the Prosecutor appeared not to have much trust in the court system, the Chief Magistrate assured that the Clerk of Court would deal with the matter expeditiously “before the end of the day.”

“I’m hoping, Your Honour, that there is no possibility for anything to take this process awry,” he said.

Mr. Ramdhani said  the boxes contain an index of all of the Statements of Poll, as well as 10 discs for each of the defendants.

The Prosecutor said the documents have been scanned and would be emailed to the defendants, after the parties could not reach concrete agreement to provide flash drives for the documents to be placed.

The Chief Magistrate explained that the boxes of documents have to be filed with the court and then the lawyers and clients could uplift them. “The defence has to be patient and know that they wouldn’t collect it today. They may collect it tomorrow because we have to do the documentation,” she said.

Those facing charges related to electoral fraud are Denise Babb-Cummings, People’s National Congress Reform Chairman, Volda Lawrence; former Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; PNCR activist Carol Smith-Joseph, and GECOM officials Sheffern February, Enrique Livan, and Michelle Miller.

The issue surrounds their roles that they might have played in the production of results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections. A recount had showed a major variation between the results that had been declared by Mingo and those from the national vote recount especially for Region Four.