APNU blasts Luncheon over treason PI statements

The APNU has rebuffed statements coming from Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon following the release of three persons who had been charged with treason and incarcerated since December 2010.

Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Major Bruce Munroe, his wife Carol Ann Munroe and ex-soldier Leonard Wharton were on Wednesday cleared of treason, after acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry ruled that the charge laid against them was bad in law as it lacked the relevant particulars.

The charge against the Munroes and Wharton accused them of plotting to level war within Guyana to force the president out of office, in order to compel the Government of Guyana to change its measures. The offence was allegedly committed between December 1, 2009 and December 16, 2010 at Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara, where the accused had all resided up until they were arrested.

Following a news conference on Wednesday, Dr. Luncheon is reported to have expressed surprise at the outcome of the matter in the court.

“Certainly I want to believe that that matter would not end there but at this point I would say we are surprised, I am surprised,” said Dr. Luncheon on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Secretary said the executive would have to examine what options exist in the face of the court ruling, when asked if the ruling would be appealed.

However, APNU praised the Magistrate for the ruling and condemned the statements from Dr. Luncheon.

“We are very happy for the families of the three people who had been incarcerated and we believe that there were incarcerated in the same manner as Mark Benschop, without any scintilla of evidence to incriminate them,” said Basil Williams, speaking at an APNU press conference yesterday.

“They are saying that the ground in which the learned Magistrate upheld the no-case submission is because the charges were not properly filed or lack the necessary ingredients to constitute the offence,” he said.

Williams said that because of the length of time the persons spent away from their families, Dr.  Luncheon should let it be, since it would give the appearance that there is some malicious intent for changing the three persons.

“We are happy that they have been freed; we believe that it was a travesty to charge them in the first place,” Williams said.

Joseph Harmon, speaking at the press conference, said that the ruling by the Magistrate emphasises the independence of the three branches of Government from each other.

“The independence of the Judiciary is very important and I think that the Magistrate ought to be commended for taking a bold step. We knew from the outset that these charges were not sustainable. We knew that the legal team representing the accused persons were competent enough to deal with the matter as they occurred and therefore we were not surprised as Dr. Luncheon was when the decision was made. In fact our only surprise was that it took so long to be made, because the families of the accused persons were going through very, very serious times,” said Harmon.

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