Legal arguments have pushed back until the New Year the commencement of the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into an alleged marriage scam involving eight members of the Syrian Community in Grenada.
The suspects – Khalil Kardoul, Jarek Kardough, Basel Algherbi, Toni Algherbi, Sulaiman Eskendati, Amer Zoghieb, Emad Jouma, and Nawar Mansour who operate businesses in St. George’s and Grenville – are accused of deceiving a Public Officer in their quest to obtaining Grenadian Citizenship.
The Syrians who are accused of lying to the government employee stating that they are married to Grenadian women will have to return to court on February 25, 2013.
During their court appearances last week Wednesday at the St. George’s Number One Magistrate’s Court, the three-member team of defense lawyers, Cajeton Hood, Derick Sylvester and Naeisha John were present to put forward legal arguments to Her Honour Tamara Gill about the likely implications their clients may face in regards to how the charges were laid.
Hood who led the submissions feared the language barrier could pose a problem in terms of the accused persons being able to understand the court proceedings.
He told the court when he visited his client who speaks Arabic at the time of detention at a police station, he spoke to him through someone who understands the Arabic language but that person is not a certified interpreter.
Hood also raised concerns about the manner in which the charge sheet was compiled, alleging that the charge is laid contrary to section 366 in that it fails to show the punishment the men face before the court.
Sylvester who gave support to Hood’s submission sought to have the charges laid thrown out against his clients, Basel and Toni.
He argued that in accordance to section 8, sub-section 2 (B) of the Grenada Constitution, the charge violates the constitution since the men are not aware of what they have been charged for.
According to him, the constitution states that the charge should be laid in a language that they understand and to know in detail the nature of the charges.
Like her male colleagues, female defense attorney John told the court it is a right to have the charges laid in a language that the accused men can understand.
She claimed that when the men were first brought to court last month, they were completely confused.
Police Prosecutor, Corporal Vah Hercules shot down the arguments put forward by the lawyers and submitted that the accused persons are businessmen operating in Grenada who claim to have married Grenadian women.
She contended that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) properly laid the charges on the suspects.
A request made by the defense for the passport of one of the accused men, Jarek Kardough to be returned to him was denied by Magistrate Gill.
John who made the request told the court that her client wants to travel abroad to purchase items for his store in time for the Christmas holiday shopping.
As part of the bail condition, the Syrians had to surrender all their travel documents.
In turning down the application, Magistrate Gill informed the attorney that all of the bail conditions imposed on them will remain in force.
The lawyers were also told that each of the men who are charged indictable would be tried separately when the PI starts on February 25.
Magistrate Gill also issued a bench warrant for State witness, Vacca Bowen who failed to attend the court sitting.