It was another day of drama at the courts in Roseau as the election fever intensifies. At the Magistrate’s court, it was to have been a day set aside for presiding Magistrate Asquith Riviere to rule on certain aspects of the alleged incitement case against opposition leader Lennox Linton and former Prime Minister Edison James.
The issue at hand was the decision by the prosecution led by Trinidad & Tobago’s Israel Khan SC to join James with Linton. That was opposed by defense lawyer for the defense team Gildon Richards.
The case was adjourned to 2pm on December 2, 2019. However, the matter came up for hearing during the morning session of the court and James and Linton along with their lawyer were absent since they had no knowledge that the matter had been moved to the morning.
An application was made by the prosecution for the issuance of a bench warrant for the arrest of the men and was granted. The magistrate did not, however, release the bench warrant and about half an hour later, both men with their lawyer, appeared in court.
During the proceedings, the magistrate said he had gotten the submissions late and it was difficult for him to do his research and so he needed further clarity and authorities on the law as it relates to the issue of the filing and serving of defense counsel on behalf of Edison James.
“I need to see something in the law that speaks on that issue…I would like to see proper authorities directing me on that point,” the magistrate stated.
He also reminded both parties that he was “an administer of justice” and had to look at “all the matters on the facts of the law with no politics or religion.”
“That’s why I ask all to leave the politics out. I am not concerned about the person in the box, but just the law. If it was the Prime Minister, I would have dealt with it the same way. All I am here to do is to dispense justice, justice and justice, and not rush to proceed quickly,” he stated.
Riviere then asked both sides to do further research on the matter, the prosecution to file by December 18, 2019, and the defense, January 14, 2020. The matter will return to court on February 3, 2020, at 10 am, when he will give a ruling.