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– grants fiat for six special prosecutors
The private criminal charges against Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield were on Friday withdrawn by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack even as she granted fiat for six special prosecutors.
“This morning the DPP withdrew those charges, the private criminal charges against Mr. Lowenfield. So the charges that he faces now are just the charges that the police institute,” Lowenfield’s attorney Nigel Hughes said.
The CEO who faces three charges of misconduct in public office and three charges of forgery appeared before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs Friday morning.
There, the prosecution requested a summary disposal of the case which would see it being heard only at the Magistrates’ Court. However, this was opposed by lawyers representing Lowenfield and Myers as they are in favor of the matter being heard before a 12-member jury.
The prosecution argued that the matter is too complex for a jury and that it would be easier if heard at the Magistrates’ Court. Magistrate Isaacs has invited the attorneys to make written submissions on matter.
Meanwhile, it was disclosed that the DPP has granted fiat for six attorneys to prosecute the cases. The attorneys are Sanjeev Datadin, who will head the team, Glenn Hanoman, Ganesh Hira, George Thomas, Mark Conway and Perry Gosai.
Hughes raised concerns about the involvement of Datatin in the cases as he is a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
“Mr. Datadin is a sitting MP for the Government People’s Progressive Party and to give him the responsibility for the prosecution of a matter which is highly political in nature and which Mr. Hanoman agreed has political consequence, we believe is a poor exercise of discretion,” Hughes said.
The attorney said that all prosecutors have a responsibility to be fair and ought to submit all information to the Court whether it’s in favour of or against their case. He believes that Datadin’s direct association with the PPP/C prevents him from upholding that responsibility.
“We believe that the appointment of a sitting Government MP as a prosecutor completely violates all of those and has the appearance of bias because a person who clearly is on the opposite side of the political fence or clearly is advocating a position that is hostile to the defendant ought not to be vested with this power,” Hughes said.
However, Datadin disagrees that his affiliation with the PPP/C will affect the case. He said: “There are five other prosecutors. The risk that is being complained of is really nothing to do with the reality of what is going on. The arguments about bias… bias doesn’t relate to a prosecutor; bias relates to the tribunal that is hearing the proceedings. It is not uncommon.”
Hughes and the other lawyers represent have invited the Court to consider their arguments. They will return to Court in three weeks.