Last Updated on Friday, 9 February 2024, 7:22 by Denis Chabrol
A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian, Annette Ferguson was Thursday freed of a criminal Cybercrime charge based on a complaint by now Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Omar Khan, according to Attorney-at-Law Lyndon Amsterdam.
Senior Magistrate Leron Daly dismissed the charge that had been laid against the former government minister on June 21, 2021. He had previously overruled no-case submissions and had called on Ms Ferguson to lead a defence.
According to the lawyer, the Magistrate said that while Ms Ferguson made the post the prosecution failed to prove that she had known that the post was false.
During the trial that lasted for more than two years, the lawyer said it was revealed that the post was first made by Rickford Burke on his page Guyana News Today and it was allegedly reposted by Annette Ferguson.
If she was found guilty, she could have been fined up to GY$5 million and imprisonment for three years.
Mr Amsterdam said submissions were made by her Attorney who contended that the Prosecution had failed to prove the case against the former Minister at the required standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
The lawyer had highlighted that the section of the Cybercrime Act under which the Police had laid the charge did not establish an Offence and so the Court need not consider the evidence but should dismiss the Charge.
In her ruling on 8th February, 2024 Magistrate Daly agreed that the Section under which Ferguson was charged, did not establish an Offence and invited the Prosecutor to amend the Charge to another Section of the Act and this was done.
Magistrate Daly then analysed the evidence and found that there were five elements of the Section which had to be proven by the Prosecution.
Then a Colonel, the now Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Omar Khan had filed a complaint with the Police that he had seen a post made by Ferguson on Facebook.
The lawyer said Chief of Staff Omar Khan traced the post Annette Ferguson’s Facebook page and lodged a complaint with the Police that the post had caused him embarrassment and humiliation.
The police after interviewing Annette Ferguson at CID Headquarters Eve Leary charged her under the Cybercrime Act on the 21st June, 2021.