Come December 12, Special Prosecutor in the high-profile election case, Darshan Ramdhani is set to address the court on the advice he received from the Chancellor of Judiciary (ag) Yonette Cummings regarding the possibility of appointing a special magistrate or court to adjudicate the case.
Ramdhani, part of the prosecution team representing the State, was expected to present his feedback to Magistrate Leron Daly, who presides over the case at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
During the last hearing earlier this month, Ramdhani requested the consolidation of all cases into one, as the underlying evidence is sourced from the same origin.
Acknowledging the complexity and potential duration of presenting the evidence, Ramdhani proposed a solution: dedicating a magistrate exclusively to this case to expedite proceedings.
Magistrate Daly expressed doubts about accommodating this request, fearing an overburdening of the court.
To resolve the issue conclusively, Ramdhani announced his intention to write to the Chancellor of Judiciary (ag) and the Chief Magistrate, urging them to identify a special court for the case.
However, on Wednesday, Ramdhani said the letter was dispatched to the Chancellor and he is yet to receive feedback.
He further explained that he reached out to the Chancellor’s assistant, who confirmed that the letter is currently on the Chancellor’s desk awaiting her perusal.
“I can’t say nothing beyond that,” Ramdhani said, as he informed the Magistrate that the ball is ultimately in her court since they can either go ahead with the trial or await the Chancellor’s feedback.
Magistrate Daly told Ramdhani that there are 24 charges before the courts currently for the defendants for three different offences which carries an extensive amount of evidence and statements. If the court is to proceed with trial, the Magistrate warned that the evidence needs to be “sorted out.”
“It is not fair to the court to go down searching in boxes looking for statements… There must be some order,” Magistrate Daly told Ramdhani, who said that he will provide the court with the “greatest of assistance.”
The defendants’ attorney, Nigel Hughes, expressed concerns and told the court that the Chancellor does not have jurisdiction to intervene in the matter at this stage.
Another attorney accused Ramdhani of stalling the case to buy more time. However, Ramdhami set the record straight that the prosecution is ready to start their case.
It is alleged that the defendants conspired during the March 2, 2020, general and regional elections to defraud the electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of votes cast.
Those accused include former APNU+AFC government minister, Volda Lawrence; former GECOM Returning Officer for District Four, Clairmont Mingo; former GECOM Deputy Chief Election Officer, Roxanne Myers; APNU+AFC’s Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith Joseph and former GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, among others.