Court rejects firearms plea
A veteran attorney today argued passionately – but unsuccessfully – for a firearm case against three young men to be dismissed, on the basis that the Crown could not prove its case.
Akmal Terrill Haynes of My Lords Hill, St Michael; Kerrie Shaquille Thompson of 14 Field Place, Bayville, St Michael; and Michael Shane Olijuan James of Ashby Alley, Nelson Street, St Michael are all charged with possession of a firearm without a valid licence, stealing a firearm belonging to the Crown, and unlawfully assaulting Ryan Selby on April 20, 2015.
However, attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim, QC, told Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant that on the cusp of the two-year anniversary of the men being charged, the Crown was “still not ready to start”.
The outspoken lawyer claimed that there was “no physical firearm” to show, and by this stage “we should be hearing from some witness and that some disclosure has been delivered”.
Pilgrim further argued that the men had made 20 appearances before the Bridgetown magistrate which were “completely meaningless”.
He pointed to the case of former remand inmate Pertrice Merritt who was released from prison earlier this week, after a firearm charge against him was dismissed after 15 months.
“How then can we justify going on to keep them in prison after they have done the equivalent of a sentence already?” Pilgrim questioned on the trio’s behalf.
He added that he had applied for bail for the accused, but they were “too impecunious to afford the bail”.
“That is not their fault. In other words, poverty is not a reason for people to be in prison.”
The Queen’s Counsel argued that the only just thing the court could do at this juncture was to dismiss the matter and, if the Crown so desired, it could re-lodge the case, adding that “the people that are involved with the case know that they [the accused] cannot be found guilty of this offence at any time”.
In response, prosecutor Sergeant Janice Ifill informed Cuffy-Sargeant that the Crown would endeavor to have a file ready for disclosure for the defence in two months.
The magistrate then adjourned the case until March 30, to which Pilgrim replied: “We will come back and try again, Ma’am.”