COLA appeal against Elvin Penner dismissed in Supreme Court

Two weeks ago, at the conclusion of the hearing of the appeal of Geovannie Brackett and Nedal McLaren against the decision of Magistrate Aretha Ford to throw out summary charges against Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner related to his facilitating a passport and Belizean nationality for jailed South Korean businessman Won Hong Kim, the embattled politician was targeted by irate protestors outside court, dodging eggs and punches on the way to his vehicle. Anticipating a possible repeat, police ringed the court both downstairs and upstairs, and Penner brought his own bodyguards to court. But on this Friday there was no drama, no fuss: Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin took a few hours away from vacation and delivpenner27.2.15iered a straightforward verdict around 11:30 this morning. The appeal was dismissed, as Chief Justice Benjamin ruled that none of the seven grounds of appeal stood merit. The attempt by Brackett and McLaren and their attorney, Kareem Musa, to have the Magistrate summon Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to court to turn over the investigative file on Penner which he had declined by letter to give because the investigation was still ongoing, failed because not enough of a sufficient basis was laid to proceed and the two were essentially on a fishing expedition for material they could use to substantiate the charges of falsely vouching for the fitness of an applicant to receive a passport and making a false statement in a certain particular under the Nationality Act. While they have not made any decision on appealing the case, Musa maintained that while the Magistrate was found to have erred in some respects it was not enough in the Chief Justice’s view to overturn her verdict. Moreover, he says, it essentially validates the actions of the Government since the scandal broke. Brackett says that while the ending was sour, the journey was bittersweet, but in his view, Penner is still not off the hook. The couHon.-Elvin-Penner-copy-500x333rt made no order for costs.

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