Vynnette Frederick wins appeal against magistrate’s decision
The enormity of what has happened is taking a while to sink in, but Vynnette Frederick is today, a very happy woman.
âItâs sort of surreal, but I am really pleased that I have gotten a positive result.â
On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) allowed an appeal filed by Frederick in January, 2014, following a decision by magistrate Rickie Burnett, in a matter brought against her by the Commissioner of Police.
Frederick, in her appeal, argued that Burnett erred in law when he refused her application that âthe Crown was abusing the Courtâs process by appealing to the Court of Appeal and re-lodging nine similar charges,â and that Burnett erred in law when he adjourned the matter sine die.
In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Frederick expressed relief at finally having the matter, which has been ongoing since 2012, over with. She further stated that she was more worried about her parents and how the situation affected them, than she was for herself.
In September 2012, Frederick had six charges brought against her that she had made a false declaration and swore falsely to a private criminal complaint on January 10, 2011, on May 23, 2012 and on June 16, 2011, under circumstances that the false declaration, if committed in a judicial proceeding, would have amounted to perjury contrary to Section 96 of the Criminal Code.
The charges stemmed from a judgement handed down by the ECSC Court of Appeal on May 31, 2012, which indicated that Frederick intentionally gave
evidence which was untrue, in a complaint she brought against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, following the 2010 general elections.
On July 11, 2013, when Frederick finally had her day in court, all six charges against her were dismissed by magistrate Rickie Burnett, who agreed with an application made by Frederickâs attorneys that the charges should be struck out, since they lacked details and particulars.
However, hours after Frederick was freed by the court, she was re-arrested by police and this time, nine charges were brought against her.
The first six of the nine charges were brought under section 96 of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the Revised Edition of the Laws of SVG 2009, and were similar to the six she faced previously, except that they included particulars. The three additional charges were that on January 10, 2011, May 23, 2012 and on June 16, 2011, at Kingstown and within the first magisterial district, with intent to mislead the court, Frederick fabricated evidence. The last three charges were brought under Section 101 (a) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the Laws of SVG 2009.
On January 8, 2014, when Frederick appeared at the Biabou Magistrateâs Court to answer the nine charges, magistrate Rickie Burnett dismissed an application made by Frederickâs lawyers that the charges against her were unlawful, because she had previously been acquitted of the same charges. They also claimed that bringing the charges again, amounted to an abuse of the process.
It is this decision by Burnett that was heard by the Court of Appeal on June 27, 2017, before Her Ladyship the Hon Dame Janice M Pereira, Chief Justice, His Lordship the Hon Mario Michel, Justice of Appeal and his Lordship Hon Paul Webster, Justice of Appeal (Ag).
Frederick was represented by Keith Scotland, instructed by Leslie Prospere, while the respondent was represented by Karim Nelson, instructed by Colin Williams, the Director of Public Prosecutions. The respondent, the Commissioner of Police, was ordered to pay costs to
the appellant, to be assessed if not agreed within 30 days.