Criminal proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court against former Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and former Head of the NICIL, Winston Brassington have been halted, with a stay granted by the High Court on Monday.
Justice Franklin Holder granted the stay on the Magistrates’ Court process, but it will only remain in effect until the substantial fixed date application is heard and determined.
That application in which Brassington and Dr. Singh are claiming that the charges against them are not proper will come up on May 25th before Chief Justice (acting), Justice Roxanne George Wilshire.
The two former government officials who have been charged and granted bail for three counts of misconduct in public office are not due to return to Court until June 5th.
The fixed date application is likely to be heard and determined even before that time.
Solicitor General Kim Kyte said Justice Holder granted the stay with the reasoning that he was protecting the judicial process.
“He doesn’t want the case in the Magistrates Court to be ongoing while Justice George is determining the fix date application.”
She said it is her position that the fixed date application has no realistic prospect of success.
“The DPP was within her power to institute the charge and they cannot establish that she acted in bad faith or that the charge is bad in law. We have argued extensively that the charge is very good common law charge, provided for under the laws of Guyana.”
The state will rely on this argument in the fixed date application hearing where former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has challenged the charges brought against his clients.
Nandlall also spoke to the media on Monday and said he is happy that the stay has been granted, until the hearing and determination of the challenge filed.
The misconduct in Public office charges against Singh and Brassington are in relation to the sale three tracts of government land, at prices believed to be far below the market prices.
They are also being investigated for several other sale of government properties for which the Special Organized crime Unit said more charges are likely.
-by Kurt Campbell-