FID given OK to appeal Reid-Pinnock stay order
The Financial Investigations Division (FID) has received the green light to appeal a Supreme Court judge’s refusal to set aside an order that has stayed the multimillion-dollar fraud trial of former Education Minister Ruel Reid and his co-accused in the Parish Court.
The Supreme Court on Friday gave FID permission to appeal the decision of Justice Andrea Pettigrew-Collins, who had ruled that she had no authority to overturn or vary the decision of her colleague, Justice Courtney Daye, who had stayed the trial.
The FID was also granted an extension for filing its application.
Former Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President Fritz Pinnock; Reid’s wife, Sharen, and their daughter, Sharelle; and Councillor Kim Brown-Lawrence of the Brown’s Town division are also on trial in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.
However, Justice Daye had stalled the trial in June 2021 after Reid and Pinnock had sought leave for a judicial review of Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks’ decision that the case proceed to trial.
However, the FID, which is prosecuting the matter, challenged the judge’s decision, asking that the order be varied or set aside. But Justice Pettigrew-Collins, in throwing out the application, indicated that it would be nonsensical to do so to facilitate the progress of the criminal prosecution as it was possible for a finding to be made that all orders by Crooks were invalid and the matter would have to start afresh.
In the meantime, the criminal aspect of the case will be mentioned in the Parish Court on October 3.
The matter was postponed in July for the court to be updated on the outcome of the application for leave to apply for judicial review as well as the date for the judicial review with respect to Crooks’ decision.
Reid and Pinnock had taken issue with the judge’s decision in the Parish Court after Crooks recused himself from the trial, stating that there was a possible conflict of interest. He later revealed that he had attended Munro College while Reid was head boy.
The accused were arrested and charged in 2019 for allegedly diverting public funds from the Ministry of Education and the CMU.