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JAMAICA | Attorney seeks judicial review in Reid, Pinnock corruption case

Featured Attorney at law, Hugh Wildman Attorney at law, Hugh Wildman
KINGSTON, October 23, 2019 - Hugh Wildman, the attorney representing former Education Minister, Ruel Reid, and President of the Caribbean Maritime University, Professor Fritz Pinnock, says the Financial Investigation Division (FID) had no authority to charge his clients and so on  Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking leave for judicial review to quash the charges brought against them.
Wildman is maintaining that the FID had no jurisdiction to lay charges against Mr. Reid and Professor Pinnock as it is only empowered as an investigative body.
 
He said  the FID made a major blunder in the case by bringing the charges and trying to seek a fiat from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to prosecute those charges and  as a result,  the "entire proceedings that they initiated against the applicants... are a nullity" and he will seek to have the charges quashed.
 
The attorney explained that the FID Act is similar to the INDECOM Act in that the entity is purely an investigative body having no authority to charge anyone. The FID, is a department of the Ministry of Finance, designed to investigate financial crimes, but it has no prosecutorial function. 
 
"Whenever they do their investigation, they are to turn it over to the relevant persons who must make the determination if any charges are to be laid. But they are not empowered under the statute to lay charges," he reiterated.
 
This principle was clarified earlier this year when the Police Federation challenged and won INDECOM in court on the basis that it did not have the power to lay charges or make arrests.

According to Hugh Wildman, “all the accused persons who were so dealt with have a strong civil suit against the State, and especially in light of what is now emerging about the nullity of the charges where they would have had a powerful case of false imprisonment and malicious prosecution and that will be possibly millions of dollars, given what they were subjected to,” Wildman told journalists during a briefing at his Corporate Area office yesterday.

The attorney called the briefing following the filing of an application in the Supreme Court for a judicial review by Reid and Pinnock yesterday in respect of the charges brought against them in the St Andrew Parish Court two weeks ago.

He said his clients were not ruling out suing the Government.

“I know my clients are looking in every direction, including that direction,” he said in noting concerns raised by his clients about breaches of their rights, which, he claimed, included officers jumping the wall to the premises of the former education minister's home on the morning in question, and refusing them the right to call their attorney, among other things.

“It goes to show the illegality of the affair. Those things will be very useful later on if (my clients) were to sue… that would go to the quantum of damages that the State could pay,” Wildman said.

In his affidavit in support of the notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, Reid said he had expected that since he and his family had been cooperating with the investigations in the months leading up to that particular day, they would have been called in for a question and answer session with the police, rather than be subjected to another search “where the media was informed and public embarrassment staged while our constitutional rights were breached”.

“The officers decided, however, to do a decoy with the media and a lead vehicle where persons covered up were purported to be Ruel Reid, Sharen Thomas-Reid and Sharelle Reid. We later left in unmarked cars,” the affidavit said.

If the judicial review is successful, Wildman said he will challenge any attempt to lay additional or fresh charges against his clients, because "you'd be putting these people here through a process again which they've already gone through," amounting to an abuse of process.

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Last modified onWednesday, 23 October 2019 05:43
  • Countries: Jamaica

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