December 17, 2010
Luke Browne’s case dismissed

Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne says that she intends to appeal the decision handed down by Chief Magistrate Sonya Young last Friday, December 10, which cleared Luke Browne, the Unity Labour Party’s East Kingstown candidate of voter registration fraud charges.{{more}}

Browne and Nicole Sylvester represented resident Patricia Chance who brought four charges against Browne that he “induced” persons to register to vote.

But Chief Magistrate Young said in her decision that the charge had no merit and that the offence brought against Browne was “not known to law” under Section 51.1A of the Representation of the People’s Act.

Young agreed with the defence’s argument that an offence is not committed until after an illegally registered person votes.

“The charges are premature and cannot stand in trial,” Young said in her ruling last Friday.

However, Kay Bacchus-Browne said that she does not agree with the ruling.

“It’s just a matter of how you interpret the statute, it has nothing to do with the evidence and the question is whether or not these people were registered illegally,” she maintained.

She, however, sent a warning that the accused were not clearly “out of the woods”, as according to the defence’s argument, the offence is committed after the person has voted.

“If they vote then the offence is laid; and that is what she (Young) said,” Bacchus-Browne said, adding that those illegally registered persons can be charged if they voted in the recent general elections.

But Richard Williams, legal counsel for Luke Browne, responded to the prosecution’s notice of appeal of the decision, saying that it was “their right to do anything they wanted.”

He said they (the prosecution) can also bring whatever new charge, but he was overall satisfied with the court’s decision to dismiss the case.

“I think Mr Browne has won a tremendous victory this morning,” he said last week Friday.

“It goes to show that our system works and the charges that were brought against Mr Browne were unknown to law,” Williams said.

“I am happy for Luke because this was a deliberate attempt to try to distract voters at the last moment just before the elections,” he continued. (DD)