Trial for 12th person charged in Alicia’s Guest House partygoers case


Jada Loutoo

3 Hrs Ago

THE 12th person – a Venezuelan – who was rrested at Alicia’s Guest House for allegedly breaching covid19 public health regulations in April did not have their case dismissed as expected on Monday.

Instead, Port of Spain magistrate Sarah De Silva gave the police one last chance to provide disclosure of its evidence and has set November 16 for trial.

Last week Monday, De Silva dismissed the case against 11 others – five Trinidadian men and six Venezuelans – all of whom had been arrested on April 10 at the St Ann’s guest house.

The matter against the 11 had been set for trial that day, but the police prosecutors had asked for additional time for the file to be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute the group.

She denied the request and dismissed the 11 matters for want of prosecution. The police service has since appealed the matter.

De Silva had adjourned the matter for the 12th person, Yosmairy Yohely Duarte Vallenilla, since at the time, she did not have before her the relevant charge information. It was expected that the matter would be treated in the same way when it came up for hearing this week.

However, when it did, De Silva pointed out that since Vallenilla’s matter had not been fixed for trial with the other 11, she was giving the prosecution one last opportunity to disclose its evidence to the defence.

The police did not escape a scolding from the magistrate, since they had only two witnesses present and had only made partial disclosure on Friday.

De Silva fixed November 16 for trial and gave the police strict instructions to provide video footage taken by officers of the Special Operations Response Team, station diary extracts, interview notes and all unused material.

Attorney Seana Baboolal represents Vallenilla.

In a release last week, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the police were always ready to proceed with cases involving the breach of covid19 public health regulationa.

The release explained that because of the public interest of the case, the police prosecutor recommended that the file be sent to the Office of the DPP to take control of the prosecution of the case.

The statement said despite the request, the matter ended and the cases were dismissed.

It quoted Police Commissioner Gary Griffith as saying the police had appealed the matter. It also said he asked for a report after the cases were dismissed and after looking at it, a decision was made to file an appeal “as he does not believe that the interest of justice was served in this case.”

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