Justice Albert Redhead (left) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr. Wayne Rajbansie.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Justice Albert Redhead has expressed dissatisfaction over yet another delay in the start of the retrial involving former legislator Andre Penn. This time, head of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers, Mr. Wayne Rajbansie was pulled up over the recent adjournment.
Yesterday, February 5 at the opening of the criminal assizes, the case was listed as a priority, but it was traversed to the next assizes which begins on May 10.
At yesterday's sitting, Mr. Rajbansie informed Justice Redhead that Penn is now represented by Kirsty Brimelow, QC from London and he [DPP] received correspondence from the QC indicating that she is currently involved in a trial in the UK, which is expected to end on May 10.
According to the DPP, Penn's lawyer stated in her correspondence that she received instructions in her current matter prior to taking up Penn's retrial. The QC also stated in her letter that she is a specialist in cases of sexual offense and Penn has expressed his full confidence in her.
As a result, she applied for an adjournment in the matter through her correspondence to the DPP. In this regard, Rajbansie told the court that he looked at the application and agreed to an adjournment in the matter.
Justice Redhead then asked the DPP why he agreed to such and if he [DPP] is ready to prosecute Penn.
Rajbanise responded in the affirmative and went on to inform the Judge that he agreed to the adjournment simply because Penn has retained counsel and his counsel wrote the letter since January 28 requesting an adjournment.
The DPP went on to explain to Justice Redhead that the adjournment does no harm to the crown, as "the longer the period of cooling off, the more advantageous it is for the crown." However, this did not sit well with Justice Redhead, who expressed his disappointment that the matter will not be heard.
"You [DPP] gave the assurance that the matter will be heard and treated as a priority in this assizes. What you've done is that you've granted the application for an adjournment. Where do you have the authority to grant an adjournment?" Justice Redhead questioned.
In response, Mr. Rajbansie attempted to explain that he did not grant an adjournment since he does not have the authority to do so. According to Mr. Rajbansie, he did not object to the adjournment nor did he oppose it.
However, Justice Redhead was not satisfied with this response and also stated that the DPP was instrumental in having extra jurors called for Penn's retrial.
"You have no authority to do so [grant an adjournment]. It's over a year now since the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial in the matter. In my view, if she [Brimelow, QC] knew she couldn't be here, she shouldn't have taken this matter. It is gross disrespect to this court," Justice Redhead said.
The Judge went on to note, "In my 28 years on the bench, I have never come across anything like this. This court is no less important than any other court in England. This is most unsatisfactory."
Justice Redhead also commented that justice delayed is justice denied.
Penn, who is on bail, is facing several charges relating to sexual assault.