The incitement case against opposition leader Lennox Linton has been further adjourned to June 18, 2019. The matter came up for hearing on June 11, 2019 but found a stumbling block after the prosecution failed to summon witnesses as requested by the defense to have them cross examined.
Magistrate Asquith Riviere allowed the press and members of the public to listen to the proceedings and asked the press to “act responsibly and report accurately.”
“This is not a trial; it is a preliminary inquiry and it is not a public trial,” he said after reading section 35 of the Magistrates Code of Procedure Act which empowers a magistrate to bar the press and the public from preliminary inquiries.
Gildon Richards, the Lawyer for Linton, urged the court not to have the names of Edison James (who has never been served) and Thomson Fontaine on the list with Linton since they are not jointly charged.
Israel Khan SC who leads a team of Trinidadian lawyers representing the prosecution said that he was ready to proceed with the trial.
However, when the first witness was called as per the request of the defense, it was discovered that the individual was not served and so was not present in court.
Speaking to reporters, Richards said he intends to call all 75 prosecution witnesses to be cross examined.
“Speed is not my agenda; we will take our time and see where it goes,” Richards stated. “It’s very unfortunate that those who were supposed to be at court did not show up although we gave them a list as to who we want and the order,” he said.
Meantime, Israel Khan SC said despite a few setbacks, he is happy with the process. “I am happy with the process so far; its taking a long time – legal arguments – we are taking it one day at a time,” he said.
He had urged the court to expedite the matter. However, Magistrate Riviere explained to him that since the passage of Hurricane Maria the court has been challenged.
“I don’t have the luxury of sitting for an entire day since two other courts have to be accommodated in this space. We are all constrained…it is what it is,” he said.