Discharge of treason case warrants a challenge

- Luncheon

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday said that the recent discharge of the treason case warrants a challenge but stopped short of saying whether one would be mounted.

Describing the outcome of the case as an “incredible ruling”, he told reporters at a post cabinet press briefing that “essentially the supporters of that challenge of the magistrate seem inclined to rest their arguments not on the evidence but on claimed procedural omission”.

A week ago Acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry ruled that the charge against GDF Major Bruce Munroe, his wife Carol Ann Munroe and ex-soldier Leonard Wharton was bad in law.

Luncheon said the defenders of the ruling insist that the evidence about the conspiracy to create mayhem was not provided properly.  “Let the defenders vilify state security for being proactive in the face of the more recent history of massacres by … individuals chanting black power and attaining unwarranted support from those who appreciate that logic,” he said.

“Incredibly it is now claimed that the three black conspirators were enticed by state security to plan to overthrow the government. Actually, the nation has to be reminded that our constitution imposes a duty on citizens to protect the nation and to aid the civil power in fighting crime,” noting that all should appreciate the vigilance of state security and its resolve to pursue actions against the three accused.

Asked whether there would be a challenge, Dr Luncheon said the decision “does not rest with his office or the Office of the President”. He said for the matter to be appealed it must be done at the level of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Meanwhile, asked about defence attorney Nigel Hughes’ contention that the chief witness said during his evidence that he was sent to set up three black people, Luncheon dismissed this. “I have no doubt in my mind that the witness to whom you are referring made no such statement because it is indeed not a fact. He never said it,” he said.

“The person who said that also said I claimed in another matter that they ain’t gat no intelligence or there is no trained people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Neither of these two statements I believe has been made…”

According to him there is no record in the “minute book” of the judge about the statement Hughes referred to.

The attorney dispatched a letter to Chief of Staff Commodore Best requesting an immediate investigation of an allegation that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) was involved in “setting up” the three persons charged with treason.

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.

The police prosecutor had stated at the first hearing that ranks, acting on information received, were made aware that the accused were plotting to overthrow the government.
It was stated that based on intelligence that was gathered and investigations conducted by the police, the accused were giving directives and instructions to certain persons to create mayhem in Guyana and unseat the government.

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