Court to decide on bail for Leslie Benoiton |05 January 2023
The Supreme Court is to deliver its decision in relation to the bail application by former Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) official and third accused in the firearms and prevention of terrorism case, Leslie Benoiton, on January 13.
The bail application was heard on Friday December 30.
Mr Benoiton, who is being represented by Counsel Basil Hoareau, was arrested in November 2021 following the discovery of a large cache of weapons and ammunition at the home of Mukesh and Laura Valabhji, the first two accused in the matter, and weapons found at his own workplace.
His lawyer submitted extensively on the issue, arguing that Mr Benoiton should be released on bail either unconditionally or on certain conditions, but remand should be treated as exception to the rights of the accused person under the Constitution.
The trial which was initially set for December 1, 2022 has been adjourned as the Valabhji couple filed for a postponement as they address the payment of their legal fees and issues relating to the review of Mrs Valabhji’s personal documents.
Furthermore, Counsel Hoareau stated that Mr Benoiton’s right to be tried within reasonable time can be potentially violated, since the trial date is not yet set, and it is alleged that he may remain in remand for a couple of years before conclusion of the trial.
He cited numerous cases whereby the length of remand was considered unreasonable lengthy, and where court imposed bail conditions.
On the other hand, Counsel for the Republic, Steven Powles, emphasised that all grounds for refusal of bail remain the same as the last time which the state objected to bail application, arguing that the grounds are even stronger now considering how strong the prosecution’s case is.
Insisting that the trial date be set as soon as possible, Mr Powles reiterated statements from the affidavit in reply to the application regarding ammunition, documents, digital and other devices found in relation to the case, emphasising that the accused person’s alleged involvement is at the heart of the case.
Court decided to extend remand and to reserve its decision until January 13.