Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
After several legal battles, Andre Penn's trial has been traversed to the October criminal assizes which starts on October 8.
The decision was made by Justice Albert Redhead this morning, July 24, 2013. Penn is charged with twelve counts of sexual offences involving a minor.
The trial was expected to start today; however, the courts have reserved their decisions involving the civil matters which includes a Constitutional Motion filed by Penn.
Hence, the crown will await those decisions before proceeding with the criminal trial. The hearings took place yesterday.
Penn On June 14 filled a Constitutional Motion calling his retrial oppressive, unconscionable and unconstitutional.
According to court documents obtained by BVI Platinum News, Penn - the defendant/applicant is alleging that his rights are being contravened; hence, he is seeking redress under section 31 of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007.
Several grounds for the application were made including allegations that prosecution has failed to serve Penn with an indictment or to arraign him over 17 months since the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction; prosecution has failed to establish procedure and practice for retrials ordered by the Court of Appeal; the extensive media publicity of the case; limited pool of jury; no disclosure of transcripts from the Court of Appeal judgment; and the prosecution's failure to appropriately and justly handle Penn's request for costs of the first trial.
"The extensive, detailed and continuous media coverage at all stages of the case involving Penn, his personal profile in the small Virgin Islands community and the limited jury pool all substantially diminish and erode the right to a fair trial by the jury as granted to and guaranteed to the defendant/applicant under section 16 (2) (g) of the Constitution, and it would be oppressive and inconsistent with the interests of justice to retry him either on 2nd July, 2013 or at all," the application stated.
Penn remains on bail.
Article Published July 23, 2013-Another Failed Attempt By Andre Penn To Have Trial Put Off
Justice Albert Redhead has turned down yet another attempt by former legislator Andre Penn to have his trial traversed to the October criminal assizes and a new panel of jurors will be selected tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24.
This decision came yesterday, July 22 following an application by Courtenay Griffiths, QC on behalf of Penn via pro bono.
In relation to the new jury selection, Justice Redhead told the jury which was empanelled on July 8 that they are discharged since one of the jurors will not be available going forward. He said this is due to the long adjournment from July 8 to yesterday.
He said no evidence was taken as yet hence; they can select a new jury tomorrow and begin to take evidence.
Meanwhile, Griffiths, QC yesterday applied for the jury to be discharged and for the case to be adjourned to the October criminal assizes. He said to proceed with a trial in the absence of Penn having legal representation is in contradiction of Section 16 of the Constitution of the BVI.
The lawyer indicated that he made his application based on instructions from Penn. He also stated that Penn's substantive lawyers out of St. Kitts are unable to attend the trial at this time.
However, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Wayne Rajbansie said after all the adjournments he is yet to receive any correspondence from Penn's lawyers that they are indeed representing him or that they are seeking an adjournment.
Justice Redhead said he knows Penn's lawyers very well and it's unlike them to not have the decency to send the court a letter on the matter. He said he doubts that they are fully instructed.
The Judge said he stands by the position that Penn is trying to manipulate the process.
DPP Rajbansie said the civil matter which they have with Penn will be completed today and they will be ready to begin taking evidence tomorrow morning.
On July 8, Justice Redhead had ruled to go ahead with Penn's trial with or without legal representation. However, Penn had opted not to take part in the trial.
He is charged with twelve counts of sexual offences involving a minor.