March 20, 2010

Guyana prosecutors now allowed to appeal verdicts
Source: Associated Press
Published : 2010-03-20
Legislators have approved a bill that will for the first time let prosecutors appeal verdicts and allow police to immediately re-arrest suspects in this South American country.

Prosecutors can appeal all the way to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice _ the highest judicial body for much of the region _ but opposition leaders and attorneys said they will challenge the bill.

"Given the pace at which our courts work, this could mean a virtual lifetime in prison for some offenders who win their cases," opposition lawmakers Khemraj Ramjattan said Friday.

The state can now appeal jury acquittals for murder, treason, sexual offenses, piracy, carjacking and drug trafficking cases, among others. Ramjattan said attorneys are researching whether such actions are allowed in other former British colonies.

Legislators who approved the bill late Thursday said the state wants the right to appeal decisions in cases where there might have been trial irregularities, misdirection from a judge or suppression of evidence.

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