A HIGH COURT judge has thrown out indictments for forgery and uttering a forged document against businessman Troy Sabeeney. Justice Gillian Lucky also threw out a similar indictment of uttering a forged document against fellow businessman Anthony Chow, but ruled there was sufficient evidence for Chow to go on trial for forgery.
In a written decision delivered at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday, Lucky ruled on a motion filed by attorneys for both men to have indictments against them quashed because of insufficient evidence.
Both men were initially charged with conspiracy to commit fraud arising out of an incident in June 2002, when Desmond Haynes, who was also charged with them, went to Republic Bank’s West Mall branch with a cheque for $317,000 made out to his plumbing company, and told the manager he wanted to know if the cheque was good.
After making her checks, the account from which the cheque was drawn was closed and the fraud squad was contacted. At the preliminary inquiry, the charge against Haynes was dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Lucky said she could understand why.
A second man who was also charged with Sabeeney, Chow and Haynes died before the indictment for the forgery and uttering a forged document was filed by the DPP in 2013 against them. In her ruling, Lucky said the high court had the inherent jurisdiction to quash an indictment.
As she considered the evidence against Sabeeney, she said nothing in his statement to police showed he had an intent to defraud, or did anything to the cheque. She said Sabeeney told police he knew nothing about the cheque and did not want to get involved as he had “too much to lose.”
“It is clear he wanted to distance himself from any action,” Lucky said. Sabeeney was represented by attorneys Keith Scotland and Asha Watkins-Montserin.
She also held that the evidence against Chow for uttering a forged document could not be sustained, but found that his statement to police was sufficient to sustain an indictment for forgery. Lucky will receive submissions from Chow’s attorneys Sophia Chote, SC, and Peter Carter on staying the indictment on the basis of abuse of process and will give her decision on March 29.
She also said he had the option to choose a judge-alone trial or a jury. Chote said her client was willing to give his intention to have his trial heard by a judge alone. On the next date of hearing, Chow will be arraigned and depending on how Lucky rules on the application to have the indictment stayed, the trial will begin.