Sep 17, 2022 News
– says client to receive more charges
By Renay Sambach
Kaieteur News – In response to the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, to discontinue a private criminal charge against Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, the legal team for Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom is moving to challenge the decision.
On Wednesday, Bascom appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to answer to three cybercrime charges. The charges against Bascom came weeks after he made accusations about an alleged police cover-up in the murder investigation of Ricardo Fagundes, known as ‘Paper Shorts’.
On that said day, Bascom’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, filed a similar charge against the Crime Chief. That private criminal charge states that on August 17, 2022 at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, Blanhum used a computer system to transmit electronic data with intent to humiliate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to Bascom.
The matter was scheduled to be called on September 21, 2022, but the day after the charge was filed, the DPP discontinued it.
On Thursday, the DPP sent a letter to the Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan informing her that the charge against the Crime Chief is to be discontinued. In order to discontinue the charge, the DPP exercised the powers conferred on her by Article 187 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
According to Article 187:1: “The Director of Public Prosecutions (referred to in this article as ‘the Director’) shall have power in any case in which he or she considers it desirable to do so – (a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court, other than a court martial, in respect of any offence against the law of Guyana; (b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority, and (c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered on any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or her or any other person or authority.”
In response to the DPP’s decision – Bascom and his lawyer held a press conference on Friday.
During the press conference, Hughes said, “Since the filing of those charges [against Blanhum], there has been no communication received either by myself or Bascom from the DPP in relation to any evidence we may have about the charge which we had filed against the Crime Chief.”
The lawyer added that no request was made by the DPP for the statements, or for the basis on which the charge was filed against Blanhum. However, he added, despite not being aware of the aforementioned, he read in the press about the DPP’s decision to discontinue the charge against the Crime Chief.
“We are unaware of any basis upon which the DPP could properly have acted based on her powers,” Hughes noted.
The lawyer highlighted that even though the DPP has the power to withdraw charges, her constitutional power is premised on the fact that she act reasonably and not act “capriciously”, noting that there should be a legal basis and foundation for her actions.
He explained that the Crime Chief opted to accuse one of his serving members of the Force of misleading the public and specifically lying. According to Hughes, that among several other misleading statements was the basis upon which the private criminal charge was brought against Blanhum.
As such, Hughes revealed that the DPP’s decision will be subject to a long challenge, “all the way up to the apex court.”
“We don’t believe the person who is responsible for making decision on whether criminal charges continue or discontinue can do so without any basis whatsoever…so I think we all will benefit from the guidance from the court in relation to that,” Hughes added.
Moreover, the lawyer then revealed that he was informed that his client will be facing more charges. “I was told that Mr. Bascom now faces further cybercrime charges on the East Coast and that matter has now been put down for the 14th of November, 2022 at the Vigilance [Magistrate’s Court],” the lawyer noted.
He then explained that they are unaware of what the new charges are likely to be or who the virtual complainants are.
According to reports, Bascom had made a Facebook live accusing several high-ranking members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) of covering-up the findings unearthed in the Fagundes’s murder investigation.
In fact, he had made accusations against his bosses at the Force’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), claiming that they were bribed. Fagundes was gunned down on March 21, 2021, moments after stepping out of a popular bar on Main Street, Georgetown by two men who emerged from the back seat of a heavily tinted, white Toyota Fielder Wagon.
Kaieteur News had reported that following Bascom’s allegations, the Force had not only denied the claims but had also called Bascom a liar and even investigated him for breaching its code of conduct.
Nevertheless, Bascom stood by his allegations and publicly stated that he had evidence too. He had stated, however, that he is fearful for his life and needs protection.
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