Charges against PPP/C’s “pro-democracy” protesters withdrawn

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Activists Neil Kumar and Raphael Boodhoo at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on May 21

The charges which were instituted against two pro-democracy protesters for breaching the government’s COVID-19 guidelines have been withdrawn.

The charges were brought against former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarian, Neil Kumar, and Raphael Boodhoo.

However, they were dropped after the State Prosecutor failed to defend the charges during the preliminary trial.

Initially, the two were hauled before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court to answer the charge, which stated that on May 16, they breached the COVID-19 emergency measures.

Kumar was also accused of hosting a meeting of a fraternal, civic organisation.

The duo was arrested when they picketed the Foreign Affairs Ministry calling for the Carter Center to be allowed into the country to complete their observation of the March 02, General and Regional Elections.

During that exercise, the handful of protesters were maintaining social distancing and were wearing face-masks.

The defendants’ lawyers, via audio-visual means, made an application for self-bail; however, Magistrate Daly granted them bail in the sum of $25,000 each.

During the preliminary trial, the police prosecutor was unable to defend some of the charges which were instituted against these individuals and were, therefore, constrained to withdraw the charges.

Further, the defendants’ lawyers had contended that the charges were bad in law and should have been immediately dismissed.

In fact, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had added his voice to this issue, stating that the caretaker Government is using the COVID-19 guidelines to suppress those who dare to oppose them.