By: Feona Morrison
City Magistrate Judy Latchman has maintained her ruling. There is not sufficient evidence against Regan Rodrigues for him to stand trial at the High Court for the murder of political activist, Courtney Crum-Ewing.
Yesterday, the Magistrate discharged Rodrigues, also known as ‘Grey Boy’, for the third time in one year on the murder charge following directives in a letter sent to her by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack.
In a letter dated June 7, 2017, addressed to Magistrate Judy Latchman, the DPP said, “In accordance with Section 72 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, I hereby remit to Your Worship the above-mentioned matter and direct you to comply with Section 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01 with a view of committing the accused.”
However, Magistrate Latchman underscored that while the DPP is of the “opinion” that there is evidence against Rodrigues for the indictable offence, her court maintains there is no evidence against Rodrigues in relation to murder committed on Crum-Ewing.
In complying with Section 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, Magistrate Latchman asked Rodrigues if he had anything to say in answer to the charge.
An emotional Rodrigues said, “I’m innocent. I don’t know anything. The police (rank) (name called) put a gun in my house and said I swim across the Demerara River. Two times I get free from this charge.”
“How much time I got to prove myself innocent in this country?” he asked.
Thereafter, Rodrigues behaved in a disorderly manner.
With handcuffs on and shackles on his feet he walked out of the prisoners’ dock demanding that he be allowed to leave the courtroom. As he was making his way to the prisoners’ chute he was held back by three police ranks, all of whom encouraged him to maintain his composure.
“No, No. I can’t tek this!” Rodrigues screamed. He then threw himself on to the ground and cried uncontrollably. He claimed that he was being victimized because “I ain’t got money.”
According to him, the police know who killed Crum-Ewing and they should go and look for them. “Is best I kill me self. I ain’t able with this no more. I would kill me self now and let y’all feel nice if is that y’all want,” Rodrigues cried, pointing to a section in the court where the parents of Crum-Ewing were seated.
The former murder accused eventually composed himself and returned to the prisoners’ dock where he sat on the floor and placed his head on a bench.
When asked by Magistrate Latchman, if he had any witnesses to call, Rodrigues replied, “Who I could call. I could only call me mother. I ain’t got no body.” He however refused to call his mother as a witness.
An angry Rodrigues continued his outburst. Magistrate Latchman then retired to her chambers.
Within minutes she returned with her ruling. The Magistrate maintained that there was not sufficient evidence (prima facie case) against Rodrigues and discharged the matter for the second time this week. But the police refused to release him.
Under heavy police escort, Rodrigues was placed in the front passenger seat of a police pick-up truck and taken away.
Magistrate Latchman had discharged the matter on Monday at the conclusion.
During her ruling, then, the Magistrate pointed out that while the court was satisfied that Crum-Ewing was shot with a gun retrieved from a house at Riverview, Ruimveldt which was occupied by Rodrigues. There was no evidence that Rodrigues “used the gun, pulled the trigger and shot Crum-Ewing.”
Crum-Ewing died as a result of haemorrhage and shock due to multiple gunshot wounds. This was supported by the evidence of Government Pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh who testified that Crum-Ewing received five gunshot wounds- one of which was at close range. The Magistrate said that the court believed that Crum-Ewing died as a result of gunshot wounds.
Fourteen oral statements given to police by Rodrigues were admitted to form part and parcel of evidence in the matter by Magistrate Latchman. However, the Magistrate ruled that these oral statements did not implicate Rodrigues in the murder.
But the following day, the DPP in a letter dated June 6 to Magistrate Latchman directed that she comply in accordance to the law outlined in the above mentioned letter.
Kaieteur News understands that the matter came up on Tuesday during which Magistrate Latchman declined to comply with the DPP’s order citing that she had already discharged the matter. And that the DPP could not direct her to commit Rodrigues to stand trial under that section of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01.
This same Magistrate had also discharged the murder charge against Rodrigues on September 14, 2016 at the end of a Preliminary Inquiry.
However, in March the DPP ordered that the matter be reopened for the taking of further evidence from police witnesses and to rule on the voluntariness of all oral statements made by Rodrigues. As a result, Rodrigues was arrested on Good Friday and was taken before Magistrate Latchman on April 18, and was remanded to prison.
According to reports, the bullet-riddled body of Crum-Ewing was found at Third Avenue, Diamond New Scheme, East Bank Demerara on March 10, 2015. The 40-year-old was shot twice to the temple, once to the back of the head and twice to the stomach.
The police in a statement had said that the political activist was accosted by four men in a car, one of whom discharged several rounds, hitting him about the body. It was reported that the killer (s) used a .32 pistol to execute Crum-Ewing. The political activist was well known for his one-man protest outside the office of former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall.
Minutes before he was gunned down, he was reportedly heard via bullhorn urging residents of the neighbourhood to vote against then ruling party PPP/C.
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