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Davidson to know fate in fraud charge June 18

AFTER hearing the final submission from defence attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, Magistrate David Harris said Friday he would rule at the next sitting on the fraud charges brought against former insurance executive Dennis Davidson and businessman Rene Martinez. At the hearing Friday, Rajcoomar responded to arguments made by State attorney, Carla Brown-Antoine, who argued that the matter was a criminal offence and should be treated as such.

Davidson and Martinez appeared in the Port-of-Spain Third Magistratesí Court charged with evading $95,674.69 in import duties between August 19 and 20, 1997. They were also charged with falsifying a document dated August 15, 1997. The charges were laid by senior Customs Officer Anthony Springer. The two were fined $96,000 each on August 20,1997, but neglected to pay the fines. In an attempt to recover the fines, Davidson and Martinez were charged under the section for recovery of penalty of the Customs Act.

In response to arguments made earlier by the prosecution, Rajcoomar, who is representing Martinez, argued that the matter being heard was a civil matter, and as such, should be dealt with at the level of the High Court. After listening to submissions by the attorneys, the Magistrate indicated that he needed time to consider the arguments of both sides and will make a ruling when the matter is again brought before him. The matter was adjourned to June 18.

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