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Choksi is being taken to the Magistrate Court
Choksi is being taken to the Magistrate Court

The High court in Dominica is now left to determine whether the trial of illegal entry brought against alleged Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi will stand or be quashed.

On July 6, 2021, what was expected to be the commencement of the illegal entry matter in the Magistrate Court took yet another twist as the lawyers for Choksi informed the court that he is still a patient at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) for over one month and the matter may be put on pause as an application for judicial review was filed in the High Court.

At the hearing, whilst in the process of granting an adjournment for the trial, Magistrate Candia Carrette-George was made aware by one of Choksi's attorney Gina Dyer-Munro of the said application for judicial review.

Dyer-Munro stated that the Chief Magistrate, the acting Chief of Police, Lincoln Corbette, the investigating police officer, Alleyne Maximea, and the Minister of National Security Rayburn Blackmore were respondents in the matter.

Immediately, lead counsel for the police in the matter, Lennox Lawrence, objected to her revelation.

According to Lawrence, the attorney ought not to address the court in the absence of her client as he labeled it as "improper".

He referenced an alleged video circulating on social media of Mr. Choksi at a hospital which his attorneys objected to.

Magistrate Carrette-George thanked Dyer-Munro for making her aware of the application and adjourned Choksi's trial to August 27, 2021.

She said the matter can be heard before another Magistrate if Choksi is discharged from the DCFH as the trial has not commenced.

As it relates to the ten-page application filed in the High Court, Choksi's attorneys are seeking, among other things, to have the criminal charge of illegal entry "quashed" for breach of section 27A of the Immigration and Passport Act.

Through their application, Dyer & Dyer are also asking the court to grant a permanent order staying for the criminal charge brought against the Applicant [Choksi] for breach of aforementioned act and that the Chief Magistrate be prohibited "whether by herself or by or through any Magistrate within the jurisdiction of Magistrate's District "E" or otherwise from hearing, adjudicating or otherwise exercising any magisterial functions with respect to the criminal complaint against the Applicant."

The lawyers are also seeking a declaration from the court that the decision of the Chief of Police and investigating officer to charge Choksi is "an abuse of the process of the court and or a violation of the rule of law and is accordingly unlawful, null and void and of no effect."

According to the attorneys, the decision by Corbette and Maximea was not the product of their own independent judgments and or "they allowed themselves to be dictated to by third parties, namely representatives of the Indian Government, and is accordingly unlawful, null, and void and of no effect."

They are also seeking judicial review for the decision of Minister Blackmore to declare Choksi a prohibited immigrant in a letter dated May 25, 2021, pursuant to section 5(1)(f) of the Immigration and Passport Act.

The attorneys are further requesting an Order declaring that the decision of the Minister was taken in "breach of the principles of natural justice and is accordingly null and void and of no effect."

Dyer and Dyer are also requesting from the court an Order of certiorari (Certiorari is the means by which a higher court orders a lower court to deliver to it a case record for review of the lower court's decision) quashing the said decision of Minister Blackmore.

Through the said application they have asked that the applicant be awarded cost, damages, including exemplary and/or aggravated and /or vindicatory damages, and such further orders as may be necessary or appropriate to give effect to the relief claimed by the Applicant.


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