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By Zaya Williams
The passport fraud trial involving suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police Ray John and former passport worker Shakema Charles has entered its final stages after just over two weeks of proceedings. However, an upcoming development may shape the trial’s conclusion.
The prosecution is set to make an application that could introduce a twist to the proceedings on Monday.
This application involves three witnesses briefly testifying about the unavailability of two crucial witnesses.
The aim is to allow for the statements of these unavailable witnesses to be read into the trial by another individual.
The charges against John and Charles revolve around allegations of conspiring with Vincentian resident Lonzel Jones to fabricate fraudulent passport pages in 2018. Both defendants have denied these accusations.
A pivotal aspect of the case revolves around an initial statement made by John to the police, where he claimed that an envelope contained an unsealed draft lease for a club in St Vincent, intended for Jones to sign.
However, Jones confessed to the police that these were, in fact, passport bio pages.
The alleged conspiracy took a turn when Vincentian police discovered the bio pages as Jones handed them over to Geraldo James near the Argyle International Airport on April 6, 2018.
However, Lonzel Jones and Geraldo James, are reportedly unavailable to testify in the trial.
To address this challenge, the crown plans to make an application regarding the admissibility of first-hand hearsay statements in criminal proceedings.
If successful, an officer will be allowed to read the statements to the court.