Preliminary Inquiry for Roxanne Myers to go ahead – Judge rules
Former Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers, who is facing two counts of misconduct in public office, will have a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) conducted, ruling out her chances of being tried summarily – only in the Magistrates’ Court.
The ruling was handed down by Justice Franklin Holder on Wednesday. Justice Holder ruled on an application for judicial review which was filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
He said he did not find that Senior Magistrate Leron Daly acted unreasonably or irrationally when she ruled in February 2021 that a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) will be conducted into the charges against Myers.
That PI would determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a jury trial at the High Court.
Justice Holder’s ruling went against pleadings by a team of lawyers hired by the DPP to prosecute the electoral fraud cases against Myers and others.
The prosecution wanted the matters tried summarily, which would have seen them being heard and determined by a Magistrate and disposed of in a timely manner.
The DPP had argued that the Magistrate’s decision was irrational, unreasonable, arbitrary, ultra vires, without legal foundation, contrary to natural justice and without legal authority.
But according to the Magistrate, the summary court is not able to punish adequately for the offence and there is the likely result that the case may not be tried within a reasonable time.
Ganesh Hira, who is one of the lawyers prosecuting the case updated the News Room on the ruling.
Without attempting to interpret the judge’s reasoning, Hira said Holder provided reasons for upholding the decision of Magistrate Daly.
If Justice Holder’s ruling stands, Myers’ matters will remain indictable until the PI is conducted.
It is alleged that between March 4 and 14, 2020, at High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, Myers wilfully misconducted herself together with former Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo and others, to declare a fraudulent account of votes for the Regional and General Elections of March 2, 2020, the said misconduct amounting to a breach of the public’s trust in the office of the said Returning Officer without any reasonable excuse or justification.
A team of special prosecutors has been hired to prosecute the electoral fraud cases against former Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Myers, Mingo, GECOM clerks Denise Bob-Cummings and Michelle Miller, GECOM Elections Officer Shefern February and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan, APNU/AFC activist Carol Joseph, and People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Chairperson and former Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence.
The more than 25 matters are currently before three Magistrates – Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and Magistrates Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus and Leron Daly.