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Elvin Penner acquitted Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

Elvin Penner, the Former UDP Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, has been acquitted of the immigration charges brought in a private prosecution by COLA’s President, Geovannie Brackett, and executive member, Nedal McLaren.

Despite the many warnings from the Prime Minister, learned attorneys, the Attorney General, and other persons in the public that there was no evidence to prove guilt in the Won Hong Kim Passport case, COLA pushed the charges forward, and it was thrown out of court. It was foretold that this case would fail, and it did.

Readers may remember that Brackett and McLaren charged Penner under Section 22 of the Nationality Act, and Section 31(h) of the Passport Act, for the fraudulent passport and nationality certificate for South Korean Won Hong Kim.

Thursday, July 24 was supposed to be the first day where the presiding Magistrate, Aretha Ford, would accept evidence from the prosecution against Penner. Instead, Kareem Musa, the attorney representing COLA, made a preliminary application under the law. His intention was to Summon Police Commissioner Allen Whylie, and have the court order him to hand over the police investigation file into the passport scandal.

Exercising her judicial authority, Magistrate Ford asked Musa to justify why she should make such an order. That was when he called Geovannie Brackett to the stand to testify as witness. He told the court under oath that the Supreme Court ordered Commissioner Whylie to carry out and complete an investigation against Penner.

When Musa tried to have Brackett tender that Mandamus Court Order into evidence, Penner’s attorney, Ellis Arnold, made objections. He stated on behalf of his client that only a Supreme Court Marshall or the Registrar of the Court can properly submit that document into evidence in the trial.

Brackett then continued his testimony that his attorney wrote to Commissioner Whylie requesting the file. He noted that the Commissioner denied the request. He was allowed to tender the COLA letter to Whylie and Whylie’s response into evidence.

He then testified that COLA’s attorney contacted the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, and they requested disclosure of this file. Brackett added that Vidal responded to them via a letter, in which she said that she doesn’t see any basis to deny his request.He was allowed to tender that letter from the DPP into evidence.

Musa’s tactic was to show Magistrate Ford that Commissioner Whylie had only frivolous reasons for refusing to disclose the file. He then brought his application back once again that the court should order Commissioner Whylie to hand over the document.

Ellis Arnold objected to Musa’s application on the grounds that this application was proof on record that COLA and their attorney had maliciously abused the court’s process against his client. He asked the court not to tolerate Musa’s application because, according to Arnold, the prosecutor was now asking the court’s help to get evidence against his client. He also objected claiming that he had authorities in his possession which show clearly that in a private prosecution, the civilian entity or individual is not legally entitled to the police file as of right.

After taking a short minute adjournment, Magistrate Ford returned and denied Musa’s application. She agreed with the defense that COLA was not legally entitled to the police file. She added that for her authority to be invoked in such a summons the prosecution needed to prove that Whylie was summoned to court, and that he refused to obey that first summons.

Because COLA and their attorney had no further evidence to place before the court, Magistrate Ford struck the case out for want of prosecution. 

In the wake of their failure, COLA and the PUP Standard Bearer Kareem Musa, have tried to blame the UDP Government, and they’ve tried to suggest that the Prime Minister or his agents tried to block them. They failed on their own incompetence, and they should have listend to the Prime Minister who did all he could to ensure that Penner’s misconduct received executive reprimand. Even the state’s prosecuting authority, DPP Vidal,refused to waste resources in this case. She released a statement back in March, saying, "I have not yet reached the stage where I am satisfied, on what has been presented to me by the police, that I can properly direct that charges be laid."

Still, COLA ran away with this misconceived conspiracy that the state was protecting Penner. Even in the wake of such a failure, Brackett still wishes to appeal.