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Garcia delay

The Barbados High Court has put a pause on its ruling in the detention case of Cuban drug convict Raul Garcia.

Presiding Judge Margaret Reifer was scheduled to hand down her decision in the matter in the Number 6 Supreme Court this morning, and announce whether she favoured Garcia lawyer’s submission that his client’s continued detention was unlawful and he should therefore be released, or the State attorney’s argument that this was not so, and he ought instead, to be kept pending deportation.

However, the entire morning’s proceedings were spent arguing over new evidence presented by attorney-at-law for the chief immigration officer and the minister responsible for immigration, Donna Brathwaite.

Brathwaite submitted three documents which she suggested would assist her case — a diplomatic note dated December 12, from the Cuban Government, a letter from the United Nations Human Rights Commission for Refugees, dated December 10, and an internal memorandum to the solicitor-general, dated January 22.

After further back-and-forth discussion between Judge Reifer and Brathwaite, as well as Comissiong to a lesser extent, the presiding officer dismissed two aspects of the State attorney’s evidence as irrelavent.

She then invited the lawyers for both sides to agree and accept that the remaining portions of evidence could be admitted and then to make legal submissions on their significance to the determination of the substantive case before her.

Comissiong and Brathwaite consented to entering the agreed portions into evidence.

However, while Garcia’s attorney noted his readiness to make his legal submissions today, the State lawyer asked for another week — a request promptly denied by the judge. She told both parties she came to court intending on concluding the entire matter today and insisted there was no way she would drag on the case for another week.

It was at this stage that the judge decided to adjourn the matter until Monday at 2:30 p.m., but warned Brathwaite and Comissiong that their submissions had to be brief, with the understanding that the sitting would not go beyond 45 minutes. (EJ)††

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