By Tiana Cole
Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman was on Friday ordered by Justice Brassington Reynolds to comply with the directions of the DPP to re-open the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) and commit Regan Rodrigues to stand trial in the High Court for the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing.
The ruling comes five months after the magistrate discharged Rodrigues also called ‘Grey Boy’. Her reason was insufficient evidence.
Particulars of the charge against Rodrigues are that on March 10, 2015 at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, he murdered Crum-Ewing.
In a letter dated June 6, 2017, addressed to Magistrate Judy Latchman, the DPP “directs you to comply with Section 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01 with a view of committing the accused.”
After the letter was sent to the Magistrate, Kaieteur News was informed that the magistrate would not comply with the DPP’s order since she had already discharged the matter.
Further, she found that the DPP could not direct her to commit Rodrigues to stand trial under the section outlined in the letter.
The Magistrate is currently being represented by Attorney-at-law Arud Gossai.
The lawyer disagrees with the ruling of the Judge as they believe that a direction from the DPP to the Magistrate to commit an accused person to stand trial is a clear interference with the independence of the judiciary.
Article 122 of the Constitution is extremely clear on this point of interference with the judiciary. The lawyer argues that the DPP cannot interfere in the judicial determination of the Magistrate.
Attorney Gossai added that the DPP herself failed to follow the procedure set out in section 72 of the Criminal Law Procedure Act as she did not request the notes from the Magistrate as she was required to do under the said section 72.
The DPP did request the notes after the first discharge but she did not request the notes after further evidence was taken.
The lawyer stressed that the Judge disagrees with the Magistrate’s interpretation of those words yet he ruled that there would be no costs awarded against the Magistrate on the basis that the words used by the DPP could lend to that interpretation.
During the PI, Magistrate Latchman ruled 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.
Grey Boy is currently in prison for threatening Crum-Ewing’s mother. The court heard that on August 12, at Regent and Alexander Streets, Georgetown, Rodrigues threatened Donna Harcourt.
Magistrate Bess told Rodrigues that after reviewing the evidence, the court believed that he used words of a threatening nature to the woman and that those words caused the woman to feel afraid.
He sentenced him to three months imprisonment. Rodrigues threatened to “wipe out” Harcourt for accusing him of killing her son.
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