Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen yesterday conceded that a judge made a “fatal” error in directing the jury in the case of convicted pedophile Andre Birbal.
In arguments before the Court of Appeal, Graham-Allen initially defended the judge’s direction on the issue of corroboration. However, she resiled from that position almost immediately and asked the Court to allow Birbal’s appeal and order a retrial.
The former teacher at the Eight Mile Rock High School was convicted in 2011 of having unnatural sexual intercourse with two male students.
The sex acts allegedly took place from 2002 to 2006 with one student and from 2002 to 2007 with the other.
Birbal, who represented himself, argued that the trial judge, Senior Justice Hartman Longley, did not correctly direct the jury on corroboration. Birbal said the judge did not specify which evidence was capable of corroboration.
He said that the jurors should have been told that they needed to look for similarities in those acts to amount to corroboration.
However, Birbal said that all the circumstances of the sex acts alleged by each complainant were different as they did not occur at the same time or place.