Vynnette’s matter adjourned to January 8
From the Courts
November 26, 2013
Vynnette’s matter adjourned to January 8

The public will have to wait until early in the New Year before a decision is handed down by Magistrate Rickie Burnett in the Preliminary Inquiry involving Opposition Senator Vynnette Frederick.{{more}}

The magistrate yesterday said that his decision will be given in writing; the matter has been adjourned to January 8, 2014, at Biabou.

On November 13, when the court last sat, the defence submitted the argument that Frederick was previously tried and that was a bar to further proceedings.

However, when the P.I. resumed yesterday at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Colin John maintained the position that despite the view held by the defence, there had been no previous trial of Frederick.

“When she appeared in court she did not know how to plea,” John said.

“I submitted firstly that there was no trial because I said that the word trial should be given its ordinary English meaning.

“The fact that she came to court and said she didn’t know how to plea, that does not amount to a trial,” he explained.

The assistant DPP also argued that the information that she was charged for was defective.

“And the law is if the court ruled that the information defective, that was not a bar to subsequent proceedings.

“Also the fact that this is not a trial, but a preliminary inquiry and the law, according to Section 140 of the Criminal Code, is that once the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) institutes proceedings in a P.I., the law is clear that the magistrate shall try the matter,” John said.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, John explained that what he was saying is that the magistrate had no discretion in relation to whether the matter should be tried or not.

John again made the point that the current matter should be adjourned until the previous matter before the Court of Appeal is dealt with.

According to John, the prosecution appealed the decision made in April 2013, by Burnett, for the matter brought against Frederick to be dismissed.

At that time, it was noted that the charges against Frederick were defective, John explained.

“We are not in agreement with those matters, so those matters are still to be heard at the Court of Appeal.”

“So, what I was asking was to have the matter adjourned until the Court of Appeal hears the previous matters and then we deal with it from there,” the assistant DPP said.

But Andrew Pilgrim Q.C, one of Frederick’s attorneys, also maintained the defense’s position that the case before the court amounted to an abuse of process; this was one of the two arguments submitted to magistrate Burnett on November 13.

“Essentially the prosecution was making a submission that there is not an abuse of process on their part,” Pilgrim said.

The defense said that the prosecution argued that the matter was dismissed before any evidence was taken and therefore it was possible to try her again.

“We are saying that this is false,” Pilgirm explained.

“Then, they are saying that this is not an abuse of process for them to have an appeal running at the same time as a preliminary inquiry before the magistrate; we are saying that they cannot have two cases going on at the same time like that.

“It is not fair to the accused and the judge will now have to rule on that,” Pilgrim continued. (DD)