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Sep 19, 2005

Irate Magistrate grants one more adjournment in Brown case

Story PictureFrustration and annoyance ruled the Chief Magistrate’s courtroom this afternoon as the absence of Solicitor General Elson Kaseke forced yet another delay in extradition proceedings against Andrew “Papa” Brown. According to Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord, in his thirty years on the bench, this is the first case that has created “so many problems, so many sleepless nights, and so many decisions.” He also emphasised that “this case has been unduly dragged out” and made no secret of who was responsible. There was no specific reason given in court this afternoon for Kaseke’s no-show by his representative Andrea McSweeney except to say that there was “an emergency in Belmopan”. In his submission to the court, lead defence attorney Dean Barrow vehemently objected to the adjournment, calling the behaviour of the Solicitor General “abominable”. Barrow referred to the two motions made in the Supreme Court by Kaseke: the first to have the case stated, that is transferred to the higher court and a second to have the Chief Justice revisit rulings made by Lord on the rejection of tape recorded evidence, both of which have prolonged the incarceration of his clients. Before handing down his decision, the Chief Magistrate would again point out the court’s annoyance, but given that fact that no instruction had been given to the SolGen’s junior counsel representative, he would follow the cautious option of adjourning the case until Tuesday morning at ten. But in so doing, Lord underscored that even though no court should find itself in this situation, he was also forced to rule that this be the final adjournment…and if the prosecution was not ready to proceed tomorrow morning, he would dismiss the case against Andrew Brown. This afternoon, attorney Barrow reacted to the latest turn of events.

Dean Barrow, Defence Attorney, Brown Brothers
“I thought that we were approaching the end. With the ruling on Friday, it is confirmed that the Solicitor General has no case. What he sought to do by way of the application on Friday was to have the Chief Justice revisit the Magistrate’s rulings and overturn those rulings excluding his critical evidence. The Chief Justice of course totally upheld my objections and in fact refused to do that. So we are back to where we were when last we were interrupted here in the Magistrate’s Court. His case has collapsed because of the Magistrate’s decision to reject the tape recordings. It seems to me that really now it’s just for him to concede that absent that there is no case and to have us go home.”

Janelle Chanona
“You, I understand, were hoping that your clients would go home today, but we’ve gotten another adjournment, where does that leave us?”

Dean Barrow
“Mr. Kaseke apparently says that he had to go to back to Belmopan on some emergency. The Attorney General calls the Chief Magistrate to ask him to adjourn; I just am very upset about all that. I think that on Friday the Chief Justice indicated that this matter was fixed to continue today, it should continue. Kaseke told him at that time that he had another matter in front of him, the Chief Justice Monday so there was a conflict. The Chief Justice said, no you have other people in your chambers, you send them, but let the extradition proceedings, these people are in jail, let the extradition proceedings continue on Monday. To come here this morning and be told, well this afternoon, and then to come to this afternoon and be told we have to adjourn yet again is very frustrating.”

Following today’s proceedings, the Brown brothers were allowed time to visit with family members before being transferred back to Hattieville prison. On Friday, Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh upheld Lord’s decision not to allow the inclusion of tape-recorded evidence and that any appeals on rulings by the lower court should wait until after the final decision is handed down on the substantive case. Andrew Brown and his brother Floyd are wanted in the U.S. state of Florida on importation of cocaine and conspiracy charges dating back to 1999.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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