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Seychelles Supreme Court again defers bail hearing as Laura Valabhji is returned to remand after 73 days in custody

  • Last minute prosecution submission prevents Mrs Valabhji from making bail application.

On Friday, Laura Valabhji had her bail application yet again postponed since her detention by the Anti-Corruption Commission Seychelles (ACCS) some 73 days previously. The postponement comes just seven days after Mrs Valabhji was left without the support of local legal counsel.

A woman of high standing who previously served as state counsel to the Attorney-General’s office, Mrs Valabhji was forced to represent herself during yesterday’s hearing, following the instigation of a meritless investigation against her local counsel by the ACCS at a hearing on 21 January 2022. In the week since the chaotic events that saw her local counsel effectively disqualified from acting, and her international counsel threatened by the ACCS, Mrs Valabhji has failed to secure the services of another lawyer to support her bail application. She represented herself against what her international legal team assert are spurious and politically motivated charges, which she vigorously denies.

In another twist to this high-profile case, at the outset of proceedings, Mrs Valabhji was once again presented by counsel for the Government with a ‘last minute’ affidavit in relation to matters pertaining to allegations against her. Mrs Valabhji had no opportunity to study the submission so she could address its contents in her application for bail. As a consequence, Mrs Valabhji was unable to proceed with her application and was forced to request of the Court more time to consider the new documents presented and to secure adequate representation of professional, qualified local counsel to act in her defence.

The Court granted Mrs Valabhji’s request and she has now returned to Montagne Posee Prison, Seychelles, until a future hearing scheduled for 4 February 2022.

Jonathan Huth of the international law firm, Kobre & Kim said: “Our client has serious concerns regarding the mismanagement of these proceedings and whether due process is being followed in this serious criminal case. This week the prosecution derailed our client with another affidavit preventing her long-overdue application for bail. Most egregiously, our client remains without access to local legal counsel.”

Finally, Mr Huth said: “The allegations are weak and relate to alleged offences of some two decades ago. Our legal team will continue to prepare Laura’s vigorous defence to these charges in anticipation of sense prevailing and the Court and the authorities allowing a full and proper hearing taking place”.