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Jury impaneled for Andre Birbal's retrial

Former teacher loses constitutional motion
  • Police escort Andre Birbal (center) to court. FILE

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 16, 2013

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A judge impaneled a jury in the trial of Andre Birbal yesterday after he dismissed a constitutional motion aimed at stopping the trial.

Prosecutors allege the Trinidadian national had unnatural sexual intercourse with two of his art students during a period that spanned from 2002 to 2007.

The incidents allegedly occurred in Grand Bahama.

Birbal, 50, argued last week that he could not receive a fair trial because of extensive publicity surrounding his case.

Justice Roy Jones, however, ruled that the case would continue as he did not accept that a fair trial was impossible.

Birbal represented himself in the constitutional motion as the state is only footing the bill for his trial.

The Court of Appeal overturned Birbal’s conviction last year and ordered a new trial because the trial judge made mistakes in his direction to the jury, which in its view resulted in a "gross miscarriage of justice".

Birbal represented himself at the appeal after firing two court-appointed attorneys. However, he used written arguments filed by his former attorney, Jairam Mangra, to successfully argue that the judge misdirected the jury on corroboration.

The retrial continues at 2:30 p.m. today.

Romona Farquharson represents Birbal. Darell Taylor and Aaron Johnson are the prosecutors.

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