Court dismisses application by UPP trio to have bus conversion appeal struck out

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(From left) Harold Lovell, Dr Jacqui Quinn and Wilmoth Daniel
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By Latrishka Thomas

[email protected]

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can now move forward with its appeal in the matter of the well-publicised ‘bus conversion’ case.

The appeal targets last November’s decision by Justice Colin Williams to quash a case brought against three former UPP ministers, Harold Lovell, Wilmoth Daniel and Dr Jacqui Quinn, for corruption, embezzlement and conversion.

The case centred on three Daewoo buses donated in 2008 to the then United Progressive Party (UPP) administration by the government of South Korea. The defendants were accused of converting and using the vehicles – worth more than $200,000 each – for their own personal use.

After about three weeks of a judge-only trial in the High Court, Justice Williams ruled that the trio had no case to answer.

Two weeks later, the prosecution filed a notice of appeal to the appellate court citing 12 reasons why they believe “the learned trial judge erred in law”.

The goal is for the Court of Appeal to allow the appeal “in whole or in parts”; grant “permission for the appellant to file further on any other grounds on the receipt of the record of the transcript”; “quash and set aside” the judge’s ruling; or any other orders the court considers appropriate and just.

But in the hope that that would not happen, the three defendants filed an application in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. In May, Justices Davidson Kelvin Baptiste, Gertel Thom and Mario Michel began to hear submissions from the defence, who were hoping to stop the case from being appealed.

In the end, the court ruled that the DPP had substantive grounds to appeal.

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