COLA back in court for Penner appeal

On Friday Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is to hear a rare Inferior Court Appeal between Geovannie Brackett, president of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and advisor Nedal ‘Jihad’ McLaren, and Cayo Northeast area representative and former Minister of State for Immigration and Nationality, Elvin Penner.

In June of 2014, Mr Penner’s summary charges related to the Kim Won Hong passport scandal were dismissed, after Magistrate Aretha Ford declined to allow the summoning of Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie to court under Section 30 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) Act, for him to deliver evidence in his possession relating to Elvin Penner and the Kim scandal.

Kareem Musa says that decision will now be reviewed by the High Court, in furtherance of its own order for a writ of mandamus ordering further investigation into the matter last March.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-11-06h04m29s185vlcsnap-2015-02-11-05h04m01s24Kareem Musa – Attorney for COLA

“The Chief Justice had ordered the Commissioner of Police, because he refused to investigate Mr Elvin Penner.  The Chief Justice ordered him to carry out an investigation into the matter.

As I understand it, statements had been taken from many, many witnesses in that investigation, but they were never turned over to the DPP, nor were they turned over to Mr Geovannie Brackett, as the private investigator. 

We had requested that information.  We had requested the evidence that the Commissioner gathered, but that was never provided. 

So on Friday, the Court will consider whether the Magistrate was reasonable or unreasonable in not summoning the Commissioner of Police to the Magistrates Court, to give evidence and to provide all those statements.”

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According to Kareem Musa, Belizeans still want to see justice in the case and so he hopes that the ship has not sailed. There is a section of the law under which Elvin Penner can be charged if the authorities wish to do so.

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Kareem Musa

“This is a very important national issue.  All eyes are still on this.  Belizeans want to see justice in this particular case. 

I would hope that the ship has not sailed as yet.  and certainly as it pertains to Section 178, there is no statute of limitation. The Director of Public Prosecution can still bring a case against Mr. Penner under Section 178 of the Criminal Code.  As far as I’m aware, the ship has sailed from her department because she has not given any response. I know she was on a long leave, she is back from that long leave but she has not given any response as to whether she has gotten back the file from the Commissioner of Police or if even she wants to pursue section 178 of the Criminal Code.  

So the ship will never sail on that particular case,  because there will always be room for a Director of Public Prosecutions who is serious to bring charges against Mr. Penner.”
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