Sep 30, 2022 News
– again failed to produce evidence in Dion Bascom’s case
Kaieteur News – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali- Hack, SC has made an application for Senior Magistrate Leron Daly to recuse herself from the cybercrime case filed against Detective Sergeant, Dion Bascom by the Guyana Police after he had accused them of massive corruption.
On Wednesday, Senior Magistrate Daly presiding at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, had ordered that Police Legal Advisor, and Special Prosecutor, Mandel Moore be placed in custody after he repeatedly failed to produce evidence in the cybercrime case against Bascom.
Bascom was slapped with three cybercrime offences some two weeks after he exposed alleged corruption in the investigation into the murder of businessman, Ricardo ‘Paper Shorts’ Fagundes.
Bascom’s lawyer had made an application to the court for a recording of the Police Press Conference during which Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum refuted the claims made by Bascom. Moore had informed the court that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) did not record the Press Conference and as such, he was unable to obtain a copy. However, Senior Magistrate Daly contended that the Press Conference was streamed live on multiple platforms and as such, the Prosecutor should be able to produce a copy to the court.
On Wednesday, when the matter was called Prosecutor Moore once again informed the court that he does not have a copy of the Police Press Conference to submit to the court. The matter was then set down for the afternoon period to give the Prosecutor time to obtain a copy of the Press Conference.
However, when the matter was called on Wednesday afternoon, Prosecutor Moore was still unable to produce the recording of the press conference to the court. As such, Senior Magistrate Daly held the prosecutor in contempt of the court and ordered that he be escorted and placed in the lock-ups. Senior Magistrate Daly then recalled the matter, ordered the Prosecutor Moore be released from custody and gave him 24hours to submit the evidence to the court.
In response to the Magistrate’s action, the DPP wrote a letter to the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, requesting that the matter be assigned to another magistrate.
In her letter, the DPP highlighted that while she recognises that the Magistrate does not appear to have a personal interest in the matter, her conduct thus far, constitutes as sufficient reason for the Chancellor to exercise her power and assign the matter to another magistrate.
The DPP noted that should Magistrate Daly continue to adjudicate in the matter there is likelihood that the case will not be afforded a fair hearing. “This may not only be a miscarriage of justice but will inevitably lead to legal proceedings in the High Court,” it was further stated.
On Thursday when then matter was called, Senior Magistrate Daly informed the court that she has received a letter from the DPP requesting that she recuses herself from the case. However, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes objected to the DPP’s letter and called it a breach of the Hierarchy of the Judiciary. He stated too that the DPP did not give appropriate grounds in her letter for the Magistrate to recuse herself from his client’s case.
The lawyer reminded the court of his client’s right to a fair trial and indicated that he would challenge the move in the High Court.
The Magistrate then adjourned the matter to October 18, and noted that on that day she will announce her decision on the request for her to recuse herself from the case.
On September 14, Bascom and his lawyer, made their first court appearance at the City Court. He was slapped with three counts of using a computer system to humiliate a person, contrary to section 19(5) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act of 2018. The first charge alleges that on Friday, August 19, 2022, at Hadfield Street, Georgetown, Bascom used a computer system to transmit electronic data with intent to humiliate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to Superintendent Chabinauth Singh.
The two other charges allege that on August 13 and 19, 2022, at Hadfield Street, Georgetown, the detective used a computer system to transmit electronic data with intent to humiliate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to Superintendent Mitchell Caesar.
The detective denied the charges that were read to him and he was placed on a total of $300,000 bail and on November 9, the trial into the matter is scheduled to commence.
Bascom was charged weeks after he made accusations about an alleged police cover-up in the murder of Fagundes. He had made a Facebook live accusing several high-ranking members of the GPF of covering-up the findings unearthed in the murder investigation.
In fact, he had made accusations against his superiors 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 the Palm Court bar on Main Street, Georgetown by two men who emerged from the back seat of a heavily-tinted, white Toyota Fielder Wagon.
Following Bascom’s allegations, the Force had not only denied the claims but had 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 was fearful for his life and needed protection, which was never provided despite a formal request was made to the President under the Protected Disclosures Whistleblower Act.
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