The two counts of misconduct in public office against former Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) Roxanne Myers will remain indictable and continue by way of a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
This is according to a ruling rendered on Wednesday by High Court Judge Franklyn Holder.
On February 2021, Magistrate Daly ruled in favour of Myer’s lawyer Nigel Hughes who had requested that the charges against his client remain indictable and that a PI be conducted to determine whether there is sufficient evidence against her to warrant a trial in the Demerara High Court.
Prosecutors had moved to have the matters tried summarily- heard and determined by a magistrate. Following the magistrate’s ruling, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali Hack, SC filed judicial review proceedings seeking an order quashing the magistrate’s decision.
The case was heard by Justice Holder who delivered his ruling earlier today. In an application for judicial review, the DPP contended that the magistrate’s decision is irrational, unreasonable, arbitrary, ultra vires, without legal foundation, contrary to natural justice, and without legal authority.
The DPP also asked the court to grant an advisory declaration that, in the circumstances of the charges and in compliance with the Constitution and a fair trial, the charges against Myers should summarily.
Magistrate Daly had expressed concerns about the maximum penalty that could be imposed by the Magistrate’s Court and stated that the lower court is not able to punish adequately for the offences.
However, the DPP argued that the Magistrate failed to consider that the High Court could impose no greater penalty than the Magistrate’s Court on any conviction for the offences charged, and erroneously proceeded on the basis that the High Court could in certain circumstances.
The DPP also argued that Magistrate’s Daly decision engages Article 144 of the Constitution-which prescribed that an accused should be given a fair trial within a reasonable time- with the likely result that the case may not be tried within a reasonable time given the backlog of cases at the High Court.
The charges against Myers alleged that between March 4 and March 14, 2020, in Georgetown, while being a public officer, she wilfully misconducted herself together with former Region 4 Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo and others, to declare a fraudulent account of votes for the March 2020 General and Regional Elections which amounted to a breach of the public’s trust in the office of the DCEO of GECOM.
She was granted bail in the sum of $300,000 on her first court appearance back in October 2020. Last October, Myers surrendered herself to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown after receiving information that she was wanted for questioning about the events that transpired after the close of polls on March 2, 2020.
After the PPP/C Government took office in August 2020, the Police launched investigations after receiving formal reports of alleged criminal conduct by former Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, Myers, Mingo, other GECOM staffers, and members of the APNU-AFC in relation to the March 02, 2020, General and Regional elections and the events that followed thereafter.