By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TEACHER'S appeal against a jury’s finding that he had unnatural sexual intercourse with an underaged male student will be argued by a top law firm.
Andre Birbal appeared in the Court of Appeal on Friday for a fixture hearing for the appointment of counsel and setting a substantive appeal date concerning his conviction and 28-year sentence relating to the sexual assault of his student between 2002 and 2007.
Munroe and Associates, the law firm of Wayne Munroe, QC, confirmed receipt of the appointment as the convict’s legal representative for the appeal. The matter was adjourned to September 16 for a substantive hearing.
The 52-year-old former arts and computer design instructor at Eight Mile Rock High School in Grand Bahama sought the court’s assistance with appointing counsel. His request was granted and he was told that he would be appointed a lawyer at the public’s expense. A status hearing was set for July 4.
At his second retrial in March last year, Birbal was initially accused of six counts of unnatural sexual intercourse with the minor between January, 2002, and June, 2007.
The jury heard evidence from the complainant, who recollected the alleged sexual abuse from Birbal from the seventh grade up to the day he graduated.
However, Birbal’s then-lawyer, Romona Farquharson-Seymour, suggested to the complainant that Birbal had never sexually assaulted him and that the accusations only came about when Birbal had told him to move on with his life. The complainant disagreed.
Four of the six counts were dismissed following legal submissions and Justice Roy Jones directed the jury to acquit Birbal of those four counts on the day of the deliberation.
Birbal was unanimously convicted on the remaining charges. He is seeking legal assistance to challenge the convictions that landed him two 14-year consecutive sentences.