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Appeal date set for VBI challenge 

The Court of Appeal will hear arguments on November 4 over whether a prosecutor who can’t practice in the courts can sign a voluntary bill of indictment (VBI).

Justice Deborah Fraser, on October 7, determined that the VBI signed by David Bakibinga, the Ugandan assistant director of public prosecutions, in the case of Canes Villus, was invalid because the Criminal Procedure Code only allows the attorney general or a qualified legal professional acting on his behalf to sign a VBI.

Attorney David Cash challenged Villus’ committal to stand trial in the Supreme Court on the basis that Bakibinga was not a qualified legal professional, as he lacked the required qualifications to be called to the Bahamas Bar.

As a result, Fraser sent Villus’ unlawful sexual intercourse case back to the Magistrates’ Court, so the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code could be complied with.

Fraser rejected arguments from prosecutor Vernal Collie that Article 78A(4) of the Constitution that established an independent director of public prosecutions (DPP) gave the DPP the right to delegate a lawyer to sign a VBI.

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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