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Trial of Pinoy in US$100B fake check scam delayed anew

25 October 2019

Defendant fails to show up for trial for 5th time 
A Filipino tourist accused of using a false instrument again failed to appear in the hearing of his case in District Court on Oct 24, reportedly because he was in hospital for treatment of a heart ailment.

It was the fifth time that Celerino L. Tinana failed to show up in court for the start of his scheduled three-day trial, his own lawyer, Andrew Bullett, told Judge K. Kwok.

Bullett, showing to the judge a medical advice from the hospital, said Tinana was expected to stay there for the next two weeks due a heart failure for which “too much medicine has been prescribed.”

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He said the hospital had also advised that the defendant, who was arrested in November 2017 for trying to pass off as genuine a check for US$100 billion in Bank of China branch in Kowloon, would remain unfit for trial until Nov 12.

Bullett asked Judge Kwok to fix a new trial date and said the defense will get a detailed medical report on Tinana’s health condition from the hospital. He suggested a Nov 17 starting date.

Prosecutor Kamlesh Sadhwani, obviously impatient at the repeated postponement of the trial, objected and sought a Nov 12-14 trial date.
“I believe he (Tinana) is not really in hospital at this moment,” he said.

The judge, however, scheduled the next hearing for Dec 17 but instructed Bullett to make sure that his client would be present.

Tinana, an Ilocano, was granted bail in an earlier hearing in November 2018 by District Court Judge Eddie Yip. His trial was supposed to start on Nov 14, 2018, but his lawyer said he was sick and in hospital.

On Oct 30, the trial in District Court of elderly Filipino tourist Brudencio Bolaños will resume after it was adjourned on Sept 24 because of the absence of two witnesses, an HSBC forensic expert and a government psychologist.

Bolaños is being tried on a charge of presenting a fake deposit slip for US$943 billion at the HSBC main office in Central in April last year. -  Vir B. Lumicao

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