Permit me to set the record straight in relation to information in the Thursday April 29, 2010 Stabroek News article under the caption ‘CN Sharma carnal knowledge PI to await outcome of motion in High Court.’ The article states that, “Sharma’s legal team had filed a motion on Tuesday to have certified copies of his passport admitted as evidence. The attorneys contend that the copies are integral to the defence of their client.”
I wish to state what exactly happened in the magistrate’s court. Mr Hughes applied to the magistrate for the return to Mr Sharma of his passport which was ordered by the Court to be lodged as one of the conditions of his bail. Mr Hughes is contending that this passport is required for the defence to prepare their defence to show that Mr Sharma was out of Guyana at the time of the commission of the offence. The date of the charge is between July 23, 2003 and July 22, 2004.
The magistrate ordered that copies of all pages of the passport be returned. The copy of all 32 pages of the passport reveals that it is a new machine readable passport which was issued to Mr Sharma on August 21, 2009. There are no entry or exit stamps on any of these 32 pages.
The only thing on any of the pages is a Canadian visa on page 4 with date of issue being 10/3/2010. It is clear that since this passport has no entry or exit stamps it cannot be intended to be used to prepare any defence but can only be used to travel to Canada. Given these facts this passport therefore cannot be integral to the defence of Mr Sharma but rather integral to the travel of Mr Sharma to Canada. The motion in the High Court is not merely for the return of the passport to prepare their defence but because they are alleging that they are not prepared and need time to prepare their defence. Ironically we are always hearing complaints about the long length of time matters take to be heard and when the court is making an effort to expedite the hearing the jurisdiction of the High Court is being invoked to delay the hearing of the PI. What a contradiction.
Director of Public Prosecutions