Final SOCU witness not recognized as forensic expert by court

GBTI contempt trial…

Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan yesterday permitted the final witness for the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) in the trial of eight members of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Board of Directors, who are charged with failing to comply with a court order, to continue her testimony but ruled that she would not be recognized as an aexpert witness

Upon the completion of a voir dire, Chief Magistrate McLennan ruled that the witness Sherroni James could not be deemed an expert in the field of forensic analysis as she does not have the academic qualifications of a forensic analyst.

Robin Stoby, SC, who is also Chairman of the Board; Edward Anand Beharry, Chairman of Edward Beharry and Sons Ltd; Suresh Beharry, Vice-Chairman of Edward Beharry and Sons Ltd; Richard Isava, an investment banker; Shaleeza Shaw; Carlton James; Basil Mahadeo; and Kathryn Eytle-McLean are alleged to have failed to comply with an order issued by the acting Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, for the production of documents for an ongoing criminal investigation.

James, on the previous court date, gave evidence on the role that she played in the ongoing US$500 million Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) probe being conducted by SOCU.

James previously testified that her investigation into the matter led to a court order being issued. On August 29th, 2017, she explained, a production order was granted by the Chief Justice to be served on GBTI, the bank with which GRDB held a US-dollar account.

She stated that she was present on August 29th, 2017 when the production order was served at GBTI’s Head Office.

She also testified to receiving four envelopes with documents on September 6th, which was the deadline for the production of the documents. She added that she received a number of envelopes containing documents on dates after September 6th, including September 7th, 11th, 12th and 13th.

The case was adjourned until July 17th.


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