After upholding a no-case submission by the defense in the Preliminary Inquiry into the Marcus Bisram murder allegations, thus freeing Bisram, Magistrate Renita Singh was forced to re-open the case today and remand the accused.
However, there was a furious debate over the Magistrate’s authority to re-open the case based on the letter sent by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Defense Attorney Glenn Hanoman representing Bisram argued that certain procedures must be followed before the matter can be reopened.
Referring to the relevant section of the Law, Hanoman said the DPP must receive the deposition and other evidence and only after assessing that evidence can the DPP direct the Court to re-open the case. He told the Court that it was about three hours after the case was discharged that Bisram was rearrested.
He asked the Court to find out how the deposition was sent to the DPP and at what time did it get to the DPP.
Magistrate Singh leaning on the side of caution, said she did not send the deposition to the DPP.
However, State Prosecutor Stacy Goodings said the DPP received it the same day and it was after this that the letter was sent to the Court for it to open the case.
Goodings said that she appears for the State and on behalf of the DPP. She noted that the deposition was given to her on Monday afternoon.
However, Hanoman argued that it was only the DPP who can sign a letter instructing the Court to reopen a case and since Goodings only received the deposition late Monday afternoon, it was impossible for this to be done.
He said Bisram was therefore being wrongfully detained. However, he said he could not ask the court to release him since it was not the Court which was responsible for his arrest.
The Police Prosecutor told the Court she did not know why Bisram was rearrested.
Referring to the letter which was sent to the Court from the DPP, Hanoman said it stated that the Court must reopen the case with the view of committing Bisram to stand trial in the High Court.
This, he said, is an impingement by the executive arm of Government in this Court which raises profound constitutional issues.
The Defense, he said, intends to raise those issues in the High Court.
In response, Goodings said by law if the DPP issues an instruction to the Court to reopen a case it must follow those instructions. However, she noted that if the Court; which is a creature of the of the Statue wishes to go another way, the Law gives the DPP other options on the way forward.
Cornered, the Magistrate reopened the case but said she still holds the view that a prima facie case was not made out against Bisram. However, as it relates to committing Bisram, she said she will have to seek advice and adjourned the matter until Monday.