Prosecution to continue submissions in Reid, Pinnock case Dec 11

Prosecution to continue submissions in Reid, Pinnock case Dec 11

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, October 31, 2020

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The prosecution team led by eminent jurist Richard Small in the fraud case involving former Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid, Caribbean Maritime University President Professor Fritz Pinnock, and several others is to continue their submissions before Chief Parish Court Judge Chester Crooks on December 11.

The team is continuing to counter an application by defence attorney Hugh Wildman for the court to dismiss the case on the basis that his clients were arrested by officers of the Financial Investigations Division (FID) which, he said, has no jurisdiction to do so as the FID is purely an investigative body and not empowered to carry out arrests.

Wildman, who ended his submissions yesterday after starting on Thursday, maintained his stance that, by arresting both applicants, the FID acted outside of its statutory powers and therefore what it did was a nullity.

Yesterday, a disgruntled Wildman tried to poke holes in the submissions made by the prosecution so far.

“He [Small] tried to respond to me, but I don't think he is addressing the issues. I think the team of them (sic) realised they are off the mark, so they said they wanted time to go and reflect on the submissions, so that is significant,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“They are trying to say it is the police officers who arrested them, but the police officers were designated by the commissioner as authorised officers, and we are saying once you are so designated you are now working under the FID Act, and therefore you have no powers to arrest and charge anybody under any Act; that's an investigative body, just like INDECOM, and there are provisions in that Act, which show that you have no power to charge anybody,” he said.

“The INDECOM case with the [Jamaica] Police Federation vindicates us on that. The Privy Council came down on my side of the argument,” Wildman maintained.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Yanique Gardener Brown, who is part of the team, explained that the December 11 resumption date had been agreed on from April this year, and was not agreed on yesterday nor was the adjournment because of any lack of preparation on the part of the prosecution.

“We adjourned until December 11th because [it] was a date that was already set. We could not agree on an earlier date between then and now. Some dates that would be convenient for the prosecution were not convenient for the defence and vice versa and also wasn't convenient for the court,” she said.

“We indicated [at the point of adjournment] that based on where we were at the time the prosecution would benefit. We have some way to go in our submissions and, based on the time constraint, it was suitable that we continue on December 11th,” she added.

“We started our submissions, and as it has always been [our arguments] are basically that the submissions of the applicants are without merit, unsupported by any law — whether legislative or case law — and we are asking that the Court dismiss the application for the matter to be dismissed,” she told the Observer.

“We are not regrouping at all,” she said in reference to Wildman's statement.

Reid, his wife Sharen, daughter Sharelle, and Pinnock remain on bail.

Law enforcement agencies in early October last year arrested and charged the four, as well as Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence (Jamaica Labour Party, Brown's Town Division, St Ann) during early morning raids at their homes in a coordinated strike acting on allegations of financial improprieties. They were subsequently brought before the Half-Way-Tree Criminal Court and charged.

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