Oct 03, 2022 News
…says intervention is a “blow to the heart of justice”
Kaieteur News – Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Roysdale Forde, SC has slammed the intervention of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack into the Dion Bascom’s case with her latest call for the magistrate to be removed from the case.
Forde, the Shadow Attorney General said the DPP’s request to the Chancellor of the Judiciary is ‘a blow to the heart of justice’ that should not be allowed.
On Wednesday, Senior Magistrate Leron Daly presiding at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, had ordered that Police Legal Advisor (PLA), and Special Prosecutor, Mandel Moore be placed in custody after he repeatedly failed to produce requested evidence in the cybercrime case against Bascom.
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.
In response to the DPP’s move, MP Forde contended that citizens should be concerned over the DPP’s intervention, which puts at risk a basic constitutional right to a fair trial in a Court of Law. “How is it possible for the Director of Public Prosecution to have contemplated and expressed a request, in writing, to the Chancellor of the Judiciary to have the matter, which involves Dion Bascom reassigned?” the lawyer questioned. To this end, he stated that the DPP’s action raises serious and fundamental question as to her reason behind seeking the removal of the magistrate from the case. As such, he stated that her request should not be allowed.
Moreover, Forde pointed out two recent instances where the DPP intervened. He said, “Citizens will recall that a few months ago, in a related matter, the DPP, without providing any reason, at all, or reasonable grounds, give directive to the Chief Magistrate to discontinue private criminal charge against Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Mr. Wendell Blanhum.” The lawyer then noted that in another matter, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had cause to rule that it was unconstitutional for the DPP to unilaterally order fresh a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the matter against, Marcus Bisram.
In her letter to the chancellor, 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.
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.
On September 14, Bascom made his 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 Ricardo Fagundes, known as ‘Paper Shorts’. He had made a Facebook live accusing several high-ranking members of the GPF of covering-up the findings unearthed in Fagundes’ 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.
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.
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