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DPP, lawyer clash in Luzette King’s case

DPP,  lawyer clash in Luzette King’s case

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The case against political activist Luzette King was adjourned ‘sine die’ yesterday, after her lawyers, Israel Bruce and Shirlan ‘Zita’ Barnwell, requested disclosure in the matter.

This means that no appointed date for resumption has been set.

However, when King reappears, she will be expected to answer to the charge of “causing inconvenience to the public in the exercise of public rights, to wit, by sitting in the public road hindering the free flow of traffic, contrary to Section 282 of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the revised edition of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines 2009.

Police apprehended King in January 2016, as she sat at the side of the road outside the electoral office, after they instructed her to move.

When King reappeared before magistrate Bertie Pompey at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Bruce declared that on the last court appearance a disclosure order was made, which was not upheld by the Crown.

He said that he does not see how it is possible to proceed.

However, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams, who is prosecuting the matter, said there is no document to be disclosed, adding that it is for the prosecution to decide whether or not they would provide disclosure.

The DPP cited a case that came before the Court of Appeal and stated that the law requires the Crown to disclose any material that would weaken or strengthen, however, non-disclosure does not render the case unfair.

Williams said it is clear that the decision rests with the prosecution and the witness statements were already disclosed.

He asserted that the prosecution has no materials to disclose and firmly stated that they are ready to proceed.

In response, Bruce argued that the case that the DPP cited referred to the question of additional disclosure, which suggests that disclosure was done before.

Although certain witness statements were disclosed, Bruce asked the court to stick to its previous order, as there was a change of attorney.

“I really don’t see the difficulty here,” he stressed.

Bruce then firmly stated that the defence is not prepared to go forward in the matter.

However, Williams argued that the Crown provided the defence with statements, although they were not obligated to do so and even if they didn’t, there is no authority to demand these statements, unless it undermines or strengthens their case.

The magistrate then interrupted, stating that the argument by the defence is that disclosure is not made to the current counsel and reminded the Crown that he (magistrate Pompey) made the previous order of disclosure.

The DPP said they could only disclose material that falls under the law of disclosure.

Pompey, however, ruled that disclosure be made.

“In the interest of justice I am going to order that disclosure be made,” he said.

In turn, Williams asked that it be reduced to writing, so that it could be used in the Court of Appeal. (AS)