APNU+AFC’s Sherod Duncan on $200K bail for cybercrime offence
-was charged under contentious Cybercrime Act passed by APNU+AFC
Opposition Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan was on Monday released on $200,000 bail for a cybercrime offence committed against Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) IT Manager, Aneal Giddings.
He was charged under the Cybercrime Act 2018 – a legislation introduced and passed in the National Assembly by his own party, the APNU+AFC during its tenure in government in July 2018.
The law, which carries rigid penalties for acts of child pornography, child luring, cyber-bullying and identity theft among other offences committed in cyberspace, was heavily criticised in part by the then Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Once a report is made to the police about any acts of bullying online, they are forced to act in keeping with the stipulations of the Act.
Duncan appeared before Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Grove/Diamond Magistrates’ Court on the East Bank of Demerara where he pleaded not guilty to the offence which alleged that on January 11, 2022, without legal or lawful justification or excuse, he used a computer system to publish electronic data about Giddings with the intent to humiliate, embarrass and to cause emotional distress.
The APNU+AFC MP was represented by attorneys-at-law Khemraj Ramjattan, Nigel Hughes, Narissa Leander and Amanza Walton-Desir.
In an application for reasonable bail, Leander told the court that her client is 42-years-old and is a father of three. She also told the court that Duncan is not a flight risk and has no pending matters before the court.
With no objection raised by the court prosecutor, Magistrate Latchman released Duncan on $275,000 bail. However, attorney Hughes pleaded with the court for a bail reduction since his client was previously released on $100,000 station bail by the police.
As such, the Magistrate reduced the bail to $200,000 and adjourned the matter to February 10, 2022.
Duncan was arrested for allegedly describing Giddings as a ‘jagabat’ and ‘trench crappo’.
According to the police report, the IT Manager filed a report that Duncan, who is also a host of a programme under the name ‘In the Ring’ on Facebook, used derogatory terms to describe him while on the show.