20th June 2006;
Harte Coyle Collins, Solictors & Solicitor Advocates, acting on behalf of Jaybe Ofrasio today confirmed that the Director of the Public Prosecution Service had acceded to the defence request for trial by jury for Mr Ofrasio.
The defence lawyers had requested the de-scheduling of the case in early June 2006. The descheduling procedure affords a defendant the opportunity to contest charges in front of a jury rather than a trial judge sitting alone. Mr Ofrasio will now be entitled to a jury trial in Belfast Crown Court. The PPS decision to de-schedule this case amounts to an acceptance that there is no issue surrounding potential jury intimidation in this case.
Patricia Coyle of Harte Coyle Collins said today:
“My client welcomes the opportunity to fight these allegations before a Belfast jury. He, his wife and children are well settled in Northern Ireland and are all in full-time employment and education. He has every confidence that the good citizens of Belfast will look very carefully at the allegations he faces and the police motivation for this prosecution. He is more than happy to rely upon the common sense, experience and knowledge of the people of Belfast in judging the allegations he faces.
The case against Mr Ofrasio is due back in Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday of this week. At present the defence team continue to defend the case by making representations regarding the hearsay, opinion and other inadmissible evidence currently being relied upon against Mr Ofrasio. “