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Grounds of Appeal of DPP against Not-Guilty Verdict in Torture Case

02.07.2009

The grounds of appeal of the DPP against the not guilty verdict handed down by two magistrates in the Intermediate Court on 29 May after hearing the first-ever torture case under the 2003 anti-torture law, are worth reading in toto. It is very rare that there is an appeal almost totally on points of fact, like this one is. (Also, see our article on the judgment in the News section). The prosecution accused four men of the notorious Major Crimes Investigation Team of torture and a plot to cover-up the torture of Mr. Rajesh Ramlogun, a civil servant, who died in custody 48 hours after being taken in by the police as a witness or suspect, according to conflicting press statements by the late Chief Inspector Raddhoa, head of the MCIT. The four officers being tried plus three other MCIT officers had previously had murder charges against them dropped by the DPP.

Here is the document of Appeal against the non-guilty verdict in the torture case, in its totality as it is filed at the Supreme Court.

In the Supreme Court of Mauritius
In the matter of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Appellant) versus
1 Vissiraj Jagdawoo
2 Rashid Madarbux
3 Luc Lindsay Kisley Potie
4 Jean Noel Michel Yvans Levasseur (Respondents)

NOTICE OF APPEAL

TAKE NOTICE that the Appellant, feeling himself aggrieved by and dissatisfied with a judgment delivered by Her Honours, the Magistrates of the Intermediate Court of Mauritius on 29th May, 2009 (CN:931/06) whereby they have dismissed the case against the four accused, now Respondents, hereby lodges an appeal against the said judgment, in order to have the said judgment quashed, reversed, set aside, amended or otherwise dealt with as the Supreme Court shall deem fit and proper on the following grounds, viz:-

1 The Learned Magistrates misapprehended the evidence and drew unreasonable conclusions when they stated that because Ramlogun did not make any complaint to any person in authority, he could not therefore have been assaulted by the four accused on the 12th January 2006;

2 The Learned Magistrates failed to appreciate the unrebutted evidence of witness Seedeer and were plainly wrong not to act on such evidence;

3 The Learned Magistrates decision to dismiss count I of the information on the ground that on "13th January 2006 Ramlogun was well, could walk properly and appeared before the District Court of Flacq without the evidence showing that the made any complaint" was simply unreasonable in the circumstances;

4 The Learned Magistrates failed to appreciate the unrebutted evidence of Dr. Gujjalu to the effect that "a person who is given such a blow won't be affected on the spot".

5. The Learned Magistrates misapprehended the testimony of Dr. Gujjalu and drew unreasonable conclusions when they stated that "... Ramlogun could have received a blow even before his arrest as he started showing signs of drowsiness in the afternoon of 13.01.06"

6. The Learned Magistrates misdirected themselves and failed, when analyzing the evidence adduced by the prosecution, to make the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence;

7 The Learned Magistrates misdirected themselves on the nature of the evidence adduced by the Prosecution when they stated that "the evidence adduced by the Prosecution shows that during the interview and until Ramlogun was taken away by other Police Officers to be detained at the Detention Centre, no violence was used on him by the four accused or any of them";

8. The Learned Magistrates failed to take relevant evidence into account and shut their eyes to the obvious inasmuch as they utterly failed to address their mind to the unrebutted testimony of witness Arnasala when they referred to the trip from the MCIT Office to the Detention Centre;

9 The complete failure of he Learned Magistrates to address their mind to the testimony of witness Arnasala when deciding what happened during the 38 minutes constitutes a serious mistake especially in view of their findings to the effect that during the interview and until Ramlogun was taken away to be detained, no violence was used on him by the four accused or any of them.

10 The Learned Magistrates' findings to the effect that the 38 minutes trip from the MCIT Office to the Detention Centre has remained unexplained, are in the circumstances, perverse and unreasonable.

11 The Learned Magistrates' have erred in their appreciation of facts and were plainly wrong when they concluded that the trip from the MCIT Office to the Detention Centre took 38 minutes;

12 The Learned Magistrates were wrong and acted in breach of procedural fairness when they refused the motion of the Prosecution to add the name of PC Manaroo to the list of witnesses and to conclude subsequently in their judgment that "the mystery remains as to the 38 minutes trip from the MCIT Office to the Detention Centre";

13 The Learned Magistrates failed to address their mind and appreciate the relevance of document "U" which was material;

14 The Learned Magistrates failed to appreciate the evidence which revealed that only the four accused were permanently in company of Ramlogun for the purpose of questioning him;

15 The Learned Magistrates failed to appreciate the evidence of witness Koo Wen Cheung and formed the wrong impression that Ramlogun had only a small red mark on his cheek when he was brought to the Detention Centre on 12.01.06;

16 The Learned Magistrates were wrong in the light of all the evidence adduced by the Prosecution, to take irrelevant matters into account namely that the Court Record of Flacq Court was not produced before the Court and the doctor who examined Ramlogun on 13.01.06 was not called to give evidence:

17 The Learned Magistrates were plainly wrong to dismiss Count II without even properly analyzing the evidence on record;

18: The Learned Magistrates were plainly wrong to dismiss Count II of the information after they had wrongly dismissed Count I;

19 The Learned Magistrates were wrong in the light of all the evidence adduced, to conclude that the Prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt under both Counts.

And for all other reason to be given in due course.

Under all legal reservations.

Dated at Port Louis, this 17th June, 2009