Actu de l'ile Maurice

Affaire Mauritius Duty Free Paradise: “The police inquiry was tainted…” confirment les deux juges en appel

Affaire Mauritius Duty Free Paradise: “The police inquiry was tainted…”, confirment les deux juges en appel

Le Directeur des Poursuites publiques (DPP) a perdu son appel vendredi 13 juillet dans l’affaire Mauritius Duty Free Paradise. En cour intermédiaire, les magistrats Vijay Appadoo et Panray Sewpa avaient prononcé un “stay of execution” en 2014 dans ce procès impliquant Joyadeep Beeharry, Udaysing Ramdonee et Gavin Vèle Govinden. Le DPP avait fait appel contre ce jugement, mais il a essuyé un nouveau revers, les deux juges ont conclu quethe police inquiry was tainted…”.

Joy Beeharry, Udaisingh Ramdhonee et Gavin Vele Govinden avaient été accusés de « fraudulent use of property » en vertu de l’article 333 (a) de la Companies Act de 2001. Mais en 2014, ils avaient obtenu gain de cause. Mais le Directeur des Poursuites publiques avait fait appel et a misé sur cinq points visant à démontrer à la Cour que les magistrats ont été wrong en concluant que la police avait failli dans sa tâche tout en évoquant une « deliberated concealment » . Raison des documents importants preuves (ndlr: des parfums qui devraient être donnés en cadeau) saisis n’avaient été remis au DPP pour que cette instance puisse les considérer avant de décider d’entamer des poursuites ou pas.

Les points présentés en appel par le bureau du DPP s’établissaient comme suit:

1. The decision of the court to stay proceedings was procedurally flawed, inasmuch as: (i)  the Learned Magistrates travelled outside the scope of the motion of the defence; (ii)  the Learned Magistrates were manifestly wrong to draw inferences on a document which had not been adduced in evidence; (iii)  the court pre-empted matters in issue relating to the charge before it by giving credence to the defence of the Respondents (then Accused) without awaiting the evidence of the representatives of the Mauritius Duty Free Paradise Co. Ltd who were on the list of prosecution witnesses; (iv)  it was unreasonable and premature to rule on the fairness of the enquiry in the middle of the case for the prosecution; (v)  the court was manifestly wrong to make an assessment of CI Ghoora’s testimony when same was not over; 

2.The Learned Magistrates misdirected themselves in law and on the facts by giving probative value to a document which was not before them, inasmuch as: (i)  the document’s authenticity, admissibility and veracity had yet to be determined; (ii)  the prosecution was not given the opportunity to adduce further evidence in relation to the impugned document; 

3.The Learned Magistrates misdirected themselves in law by holding that the cumulative effect of the Police Act and the Police Standing Orders made it mandatory for the police to communicate all documents and evidence gathered in the course of an investigation to the Director of Public Prosecutions, with the necessary implication that any non- communication would be fatal to a case; 

4.The Learned Magistrates failed to address their minds to the fact that a stay of proceedings was an exceptional remedy which was not warranted on the facts of this case, inasmuch as: (i)  there was no sufficient evidence on record to justify a stay of proceedings; (ii)  the court wrongly considered the issue of prejudice to the respondents before making a stay order; 

(iii)  the court failed to appreciate that a stay order could not be used to mark the court’s disapproval of alleged police impropriety; (iv)  there was no evidence to support the court’s conclusion that a serious miscarriage of justice had occurred; 

5.The Learned Magistrates were manifestly wrong: (i)  in failing to address their minds to the fact that the Respondents would benefit from a fair trial; (ii)  (ii)  to order a stay of proceedings.” 

Le Senior Puisne Judge Asraf Caunhye et la juge Adila Hamuth ont rejeté les points présentés par les hommes du bureau du DPP.  IIs considèrent que les magistrats ont été bien inspirés en prenant en considération dans leur verdict  des ordres 8-9 mentionnés à section 118 du standing orders et la section 6 de la Police Act qui se lisent comme suit  “8. Prior to prosecution being ordered or final decision made by Officers in charge of Areas/Branches, cases reported to the Police, disclosing offence/s against the under-mentioned provisions will, after investigation, be referred to the State Law Office in a PF 100 for instructions. 9. Officers in charge of Areas/Branches will submit under their signatures cases to the State Law Office for advice in P.F. 100 as a jacket in which will be entered every statement, document and information that they may have obtained in the course of the enquiry (…).”  Ils écrivent aussi qu’il n’y avait aucune raison pour que les magistrats se prononcent sur l’authenticité, l’admissibilité et la veracité de ces documents.

Pour ces deux juges, il n’y a aucune raison d’interférer avec les conclusions des magistrats que “…in the circumstances the police enquiry was tainted with such a degree of unfairness that the respondents could no longer benefit from a fair trial and the proceedings ought to be stayed.”

Nous ne voyons aucune raison d’interférer avec la conclusion des magistrats instruits selon laquelle, dans ces circonstances.