Benschop lawyers granted leave to intervene
Trial by date hearing Edlyn Benfield
Stabroek News
November 12, 2003

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The application by treason-accused Mark Benschop to intervene in the lawsuit filed last month by eight prisoners seeking to have trials held in the order accused persons are charged was granted on Monday by Justice Jainarayan Singh Jnr.

The judge's decision was issued on the basis that the constitutional motion currently before the court could directly impact on the timing of Benschop's trial and as such his attorneys were entitled to mediate on his behalf in the upcoming hearing.

"The reliefs sought [in the constitutional motion], directly affect whether or not Mr Benschop receives an early trial. It is therefore ordered that Mr Benschop be joined to the substantive matter," Justice Singh Jnr said. He further instructed that Benschop's legal team, which includes attorneys Benjamin Gibson, Emily Dodson and Sean Allicock, file an affidavit in answer to the motion.

The motion was brought after it was indicated that Benschop and several other prisoners were to have their trials before the eight, despite being charged on a later date.

Justice Singh Jnr has set hearing in this matter for November 14. of eight prisoners named

in petition set free

One of the eight prisoners, who last month filed a constitutional motion seeking to have trials held in the order accused persons are charged, has been released.

Seetal Sookdeo, initially committed for trial on the capital offence of murder, was recently released from the Georgetown Prisons after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) entered a nolle prosequi in the proceedings against him.

Stabroek News was reliably informed yesterday that Sookdeo was served last Tuesday with a letter indicating the DPP would no longer proceed against him, and was thereafter set free by prison authorities.

Sookdeo and seven other inmates, through attorneys Priya Manickchand and Glen Hanoman, had obtained legal orders directing the DPP to show cause why a writ of certiorari should not be issued quashing her decision to present the indictments of Mark Benschop, Leslie Tappin, Gladstone George, et al.

Benschop's legal team, including lawyers Benjamin Gibson, Emily Dodson and Sean Allicock, has since successfully applied to intervene in the substantive matter in which arguments are scheduled to commence on Friday.

This newspaper understands Sookdeo had been remanded to prison on April 12, 1999 and then committed for trial before the High Court on August 8, 2000.