Case against Ruel Reid and Fritz Pinnock to proceed in the criminal court
Former Education Minister Ruel Reid and former Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) president Fritz Pinnock have lost their bid to have the court quash the decision by Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks that they have a case to answer.
The court also ruled that the matter is to proceed in the criminal court.
They had contended that Judge Crooks should not have made a ruling in the criminal court against them, because he admitted that he had a possible conflict of interest.
In February 2021, Judge Crooks recused himself from trying the case, because Reid was the head boy when the judge was a student at Munro college in St. Elizabeth.
He, however, ruled that there was a case to be tried.
Justice Cresencia Brown Beckford read the court’s decision in relation to the issue of possible conflict of interest.
She said no objection was taken by the claimants to the chief judge hearing the case nor did they seek further information regarding this matter.
She added that there was no evidence of specific association or interaction between the two in school and noted that it appears there was no contact nor association since that time.
The court also found that the claimants have not satisfied the court on a balance of probabilities that the inferior tribunal was biased, and orders that the stay of the proceedings that was previously granted should be removed.
The court has also directed that the parish court should expedite the matter by scheduling it for trial at the earliest date, given that it is a matter of major public interest.
The trial of Reid and his co-accused was put on hold to await the outcome of the judicial review’s court ruling.
Reid, his wife Sharen, their daughter Sharelle, along with Pinnock and Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence of the Brown’s Town division, in St. Ann, are facing fraud and corruption charges involving millions of dollars from the Ministry of Education and Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).