Elvin Penner changes attorneys for COLA appeal

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Giovanni Brackett, Nedal McLaren & Kareem Musa

Giovanni Brackett, Nedal McLaren & Kareem Musa

Friday, February 13, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: The Inferior Court Appeal launched by Geovannie Brackett and Nedal McLaren into the decision by Magistrate Aretha Ford to dismiss charges against Cayo Northeast area representative Elvin Penner began this morning before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.

Brackett is the president of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, (COLA) while McLaren is the group’s national security advisor.

COLA had initiated a private prosecution of Penner for alleged wrongdoing in respect of the issuance of a Belize passport to Wong Wong Hong Kim while he was in prison.

Magistrate Ford had dismissed the charges against Penner after denying an application to summon Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie among others to give evidence.

Hon. Elvin Penner (Cayo Northeast Representative)

Hon. Elvin Penner
(Cayo Northeast Representative)

But just as quickly as the case started, it was adjourned as Penner, who was not present in court, only recently retained new counsel in the case in the person of Tricia Pitts-Anderson, who replaces Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold.

The Chief Justice granted Pitts-Anderson time to review the case and get in touch with her client.

Brackett and McLaren’s attorney Kareem Musa says they are on track with their side of the case and expect that Penner will be personally in court and ready to go when the case returns.

Giovanni Brackett (President, COLA)

Giovanni Brackett
(President, COLA)

Brackett in speaking with reporters seemed a little skeptical of the change in circumstances, questioning how the change in attorneys came about if Penner is supposedly out of contact; nonetheless he says the fight for justice continues of behalf of all the Belizeans COLA represents.

According to McLaren there remain other questions the Government has to answer with regard to immigration issues including internal issues at the Immigration Department and Belize’s international reputation in the wake of the “Citizen Kim” scandal.

The case returns to court on February 27.

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