A man accused of raping an underage girl and a convicted drug trafficker were granted bail last Friday by Justice Brassington Reynolds who is presiding at the High Court in Demerara. Accused rapist Cliff David, 22, of Wismar Linden was granted $250,000 bail pending trial.
Elton Harewood who was convicted for trafficking 2,664 grams of cannabis was granted $400,000 bail pending the hearing of an appeal. According to court documents, during March, David was arrested and taken to the McKenzie Police Station where he was questioned and released on $50,000 station bail in relation to rape committed on a child under the age of 16.
On July 22, David was charged for the offence and was remanded to prison by Magistrate Wanda Fortune who presides at the Linden Magistrates’ Court. According to the charge, on March 15, David engaged in sexual penetration with the underage girl. His lawyer, Gordon Gilhuys contends that the offence for which is client is charged is eminently bailable.
In an affidavit, David’s mother contends that her son is entitled to the benefit of the presumption of innocence and the refusal of bail by the Magistrate has the effects of punishing him and his family even though there has been no adjudication of guilt made against him. In this regard, the mother contends that the Magistrate should have used her discretion in favour of granting bail.
According to the mother, “I was advised by my attorney-at-law and verily believe that the refusal to grant bail amounts to a breach of his constitutional right to pre trial liberty.”
Meanwhile, Harewood was convicted a few months ago for trafficking 2,664 grams of cannabis. The 50-year-old of Lot 51 Castello Housing Scheme, La Penitence, Georgetown, was charged with trafficking the narcotics on Friday, May 17 at Tabatinga, Central Rupununi.
Harewood, who according to court documents, was unrepresented throughout his trial, had pleaded not guilty to the charge after he appeared before Magistrate Alan Wilson at the Lethem Magistrate’s Court. Subsequently, he was found guilty and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment along with a fine of $75,000.
In the application for bail pending appeal, Harewood’s lawyers Imtiaz Baig and Rizwaun Mohamed contended that their client was deceived by prosecutors into believing that if he remained silent throughout his trial he would receive a non-custodial sentence and/or nothing would become of the matter as there was not sufficient evidence to yield a conviction.
According to the lawyers, “The prisoner (Harewood) was also persuaded by the prosecutors into believing that he had no need to retain an attorney-at-law and that due to him having no antecedents he was unaware of the trial process and relied solely on the assurance of the prosecutors.”
Furthermore, the lawyers contended that due to the nature and complexities of the procedure of appeal, couple with a backlog in the judicial system, Harewood may serve the sentence impose on him before the appeal is heard which would be an injustice to him.
Their client, the lawyer asserted, is desirous of having a fair trial by being represented by a lawyer and has no intention of absconding from the jurisdiction. Claude Stuart, who made the application for bail on behalf of Harewood, believes that Harewood has a good case on appeal. The Court of Appeal is yet to fix a date for hearing this case.
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