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Feb 27, 2015

Supreme Court Decision Scheduled for March 13th

Elvin Penner

Those protesters who gave Elvin Penner such a warm send-off had been gathered outside the Courtroom since before nine that morning. He was in court because COLA contends that when he was acquitted of immigration offences in July 2014, the Magistrate did so erroneously. So they have appealed the decision of the inferior court at the Supreme Court level before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Benjamin heard arguments this morning from both sides and Mike Rudon has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Arguments before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ended at around ten thirty today, and he reserved his judgment in the matter. As that case was being ventilated inside the courtroom, outside on the streets protesters went through their own ventilation exercise.


Kareem Musa, Attorney for COLA

“This is a national issue Mike…more than anything else. I know there are a lot Opposition representatives out here today, but there are a lot of people regardless of politics who are disillusioned with what is taking place because this is a cover-up of grave proportions at all levels starting with the Prime Minister. This matter has been covered up for so long and people are passionate about it. Ministers should not be able to get off scot free over offences that affect nation issues like this…national interest.”


Kareem Musa

COLA’s attorney, Kareem Musa, is contending that under Section thirty the Magistrate did have the authority to summon Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to provide what they are calling material evidence.


Kareem Musa

“We had submitted several grounds, the main one being that the learned Magistrate erred in her discretion not to summon the Commissioner of Police. Mr. Brackett had taken the stand if your recall at the hearing in Belmopan and he laid the foundation being one…the Supreme Court had ordered that the Commissioner of Police is to investigate Elvin Penner…investigate the issuance of this passport to Won Hong Kim so there was sufficient evidence before the Chief Justice to warrant a Writ of Mandamus being issued. We have to be mindful of that. So that came out in the evidence of Mr. Brackett. It also came out in his evidence that he had requested the investigative file from the Commissioner of Police which we believe is material evidence, because if you base what is in the public domain…if that can be formalized in the form of witness statements by the Police who is paid to do that job…now if that can be formalized into evidence then you have a concrete case.”


COLA has been along for every step of this long process. In fact, they are the only organization which led the charge to get Elvin Penner to face some sort of justice. President Geovanni Brackett says it has been a very strenuous exercise because they have met obstacles at every turn.


Geovanni Brackett

Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We have parts of a system where it is supposed to be easy to fight for justice, but we have seen that a Court had to force a Commissioner to do his job; we have seen the likes of a D.P.P. who has gone underground – we are no longer in communication and she has stopped replying to our requests, and it is very strenuous because you have ordinary citizens trying to get justice on behalf of the nation with individuals who seem to be above normal and supernatural. Mr. Penner, like any other Belizean who has been found with a stick of weed or so should be brought before the Courts. Other young men who have been caught with minor offences have been dragged through the courts for years. We need to see that same vigour in the justice system when politicians and the political directorate are accused of horrendous activities and crimes.”


Penner’s attorney, Trecia Pitts-Anderson, contends that the Court cannot be used to procure disclosure for the prosecution, and no compelling case that the Commissioner of Police possesses material evidence has been made. Still, Musa contends that they did what they set out to do.


Kareem Musa

“That is precisely what we are saying…that we did lay the foundation. It’s not a matter of submitting evidence you know. Did we lay sufficient foundation for the Magistrate to find that this individual had material evidence in his possession? We are saying that we did do that because the Supreme Court ordered by way of Writ of Mandamus for this investigation to be carried out. The Commissioner of Police never denied being in possession. Up to two weeks ago he said I have the file I am turning it over. So that is clear uncontroverted evidence that he has the file and he should turn it over.”


The decision will be handed down by the Chief Justice on March thirteenth. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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1 Response for “Supreme Court Decision Scheduled for March 13th”

  1. CEO says:

    He does not know how he should have conducted himself as an elected representative but he will be giving the media on how they should conduct themselves: go figure!

    When the situation gets to a boiling point it will be a sad state of affairs.

    I hope the leaders are paying attention to what is happening. You cannot command any respect if you are not respectable!

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