Mr. Hughes lodged his objection to the Court that Mr. Datadin is a sitting Member of Parliament for a political party in a case that will clearly have political consequences and he, therefore, cannot be expected to execute his job as Prosecutor in a fair manner.
He was speaking after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Hack withdrew the private criminal charges against Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform, Volda Lawrence.
The very same charges however, have been placed on them by the state, through the police for misconduct in public office and fraud. Lowenfield is on bail pending the hearing and determination of those charges.
Hughes said he and his team have objected to Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin being given approval to prosecute in the cases because he is a sitting parliamentarian for the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“We have pointed out to the court that the duty of a prosecutor is to be fair and the provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act oblige prosecutors to be fair. All prosecutors have an obligation to disclose information which may be favorable to a defendant. The appointment of a sitting government MP may create the appearance of bias and conflict with the professional obligations imposed on a prosecutors and consequently adversely impact the right to a fair hearing,” Mr. Hughes said.
He explained that Rule 13 Part v of the Legal Practitioners Act states” when an Attorney-at-Law is engaged as a prosecutor , his prime duty is not to seek to convict , but to place the facts dispassionate before the Court. ”
Hughes also objected in Court to the Prosecution’s request for the entire trial for the two GECOM officials to take place in the Magistrates’ Court. He said the charge is against the people of Guyana and therefore his clients prefer for a Judge and jury of their peers in the High Court to determine the case. A similar decision was taken concerning the prosecution of Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers after objections on the ground of conflict by Mr Datadin. The Magistrate has asked for submissions to be made in relation to the objections raised by Attorney Nigel Hughes.
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