DPP's appeal against bail for murder accused adjourned

File photo: DPP Roger Gaspard.
File photo: DPP Roger Gaspard.

AN appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against $1.5 million bail to a man charged for murder, has been adjourned by the Court of Appeal to allow attorneys time to provide the court with additional assistance on the constitutional powers and jurisdiction of a High Court Master to grant such bail.

On April 1, Assistant DPP Nigel Pilgrim filed an urgent appeal against the March 25 ruling by Master Nalini Singh who granted bail to murder accused Joel King.

The State asked that the appeal be heard in a matter of days since there were grounds for believing King “might flee and justice will not be done.”

The State’s appeal came up for hearing on Friday before Justices of Appeal Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mira Dean-Armorer and Malcolm Holdip.

“We want to ensure we have all the assistance we can get to get it right…We still feel we need to dig deeper,” Soo Hon said.

Each judge agreed that they were troubled by the issue of jurisdiction of a High Court Master to grant bail for murder.

They also sought assistance on the right of appeal by the State in bail applications from a Master, and the procedure for hearing such applications at the appellate level since appeals in bail applications from the magistrates’ court first goes to a judge in chambers, at the appeal level, and then the full panel of three judges.

Also expected to put in submissions are the Law Association and the Public Defenders Department, both of which have been joined as interested parties to the appeal.

The appeal will be heard on May 27, once submissions are filed by April 29, and any responses, by May 6.

King’s attorneys are Ravi Rajcoomar, Larry Williams, Shaun Morris and Toni Roberts.

Appearing for the Law Assocation are Douglas Mendes, SC, and Peter Carter.

The Public Defenders Department is represented by Chief Public Defender Hasine Shaikh, deputy chief Raphael Morgan and public defender Shane Patience.

King was committed to stand trial for the 2014 murder of Nkosi Harricharan in Belmont. He is yet to access the $1.5 million bail granted as he has other charges related to the offence.

His was the first successful bail application for murder in more than a century after the Court of Appeal, on February 17, ruled that Section 5(1) of the Bail Act of 1994, which banned bail for people charged with murder, was unconstitutional. This ruling is being challenged by the State at the Privy Council.


"DPP’s appeal against bail for murder accused adjourned"

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