Thursday February 19,2015 : JUSTICE DEPT DISAPPOINTED BY PAUL PHUA COURT FINDING
Manner in which investigation was conducted taints the evidence gathered.
US Justice Department officials disappointed by a court recommendation that evidence in the Paul Phua case gathered through questionable means should be withheld have asked a separate federal judge, Andrew Gordon, to review the finding.
The high profile charges relating to illegal sports betting laid against poker pro Phua following the last World Cup football championship are again on the media front pages following a recommendation earlier this week by Judge Peggy Leen that evidence obtained by FBI agents through questionable tactics should not be presented in any prosecution.
InfoPowa readers will recall that FBI agents arranged for the internet connection to Phua's hotel suite to be disrupted, and then posed as repairmen to gain entry and covertly gather evidence to support the granting of a search warrant.
Phua's legal team has contended that the tactics tainted the evidence and prejudiced Phua's rights.
The Department's prosecutors regard the evidence as essential to their case against Phua and his son Darren, due to go to trial later this year; hence the request that a federal judge review Judge Leen's opinion that the flawed manner in which the evidence was obtained renders it inadmissable.
They contend that the subterfuge was not intentional and was in any case not sufficiently prejudicial to warrant excluding it from presentation.
Judge Leen came in for some flak from the defence, too; her view that despite the irregularities the defendants' fourth amendment rights had not been violated was roundly criticised as an affront to US constitutional values.