Magistrate Douglas Frederick too weak, too timid to take on disrespectful police officers.

Barbados Magistrate Frederick Douglas

Accused waiting five and a half years for trial – Barbados Police don’t show for latest court date.

Magistrate Douglas Frederick lets them get away with it again.

Where was Sergeant Catwell?

The charges against the accused are serious. On January 20, 2010, police arrested Michael James Springer for having an illegal gun and ammunition.

Now, five and a half years later, our justice system is just getting to the preliminary hearing but the two main police witnesses didn’t bother to show up for court date known months in advance. One witness, Sergeant Catwell, was on holiday and, according to Station Sergeant Neville Watson, couldn’t be found. The other witness, Sergeant Leslie, was on a training course and so couldn’t attend at court.

Let’s just think about that for a minute, shall we?

Sergeant Catwell knew many months ago that the case was coming to court on July 8, 2015, but he went away on holiday anyway and “efforts to locate him had proven futile.”

Really? On this tiny rock, none of Catwell’s fellow police know where he is? Nobody knows his mobile phone number? Nobody left a message? Nobody knows his email address?

And what training could be so important as to cause a police witness to ignore the court? Sergeant Leslie couldn’t take a morning off his so very important training course to testify?

Obviously the two involved police officers do not respect the courts, the judicial process or their duty to Barbados.

Time for the learned judge to start issuing arrest warrants for police officers who thumb their noses at the court and the law.

Magistrate Douglas Frederick’s statement that it was “unfortunate that Leslie was away on training and was in High Court on the last occasion” is a capitulation to police disrespect of the courts. Magistrate Frederick looks like he is too weak, timid and fearful to uphold the law. Just a few days ago BFP reported in another trial Magistrate Douglas tossed a drug trafficking case when the police witnesses didn’t show up… but Frederick let the police turn their backs on the courts and never held them to account for failing to show.

And he just did it again…

No one-sided justice, attorney tells Magistrate

Terming it “totally ridiculous,” attorney-at-law Vonda Pile asked today that a matter involving her client be dismissed.

Michael James Springer faces charges of having a gun and ammunition on January 20, 2010. The 29-year-old lives at Headley’s Land, Deacons Road, St Michael.

When the preliminary hearing began yesterday, Station Sergeant Neville Watson told the court of the unavailability of the two police witnesses.  

He said Sergeant Leslie was on a training course while Sergeant Catwell was on holiday and efforts to locate him had proven futile. The prosecutor therefore asked for an adjournment.

However, Pile complained that “the accused has always had to be here” while she has been waiting to continue cross-examining Sergeant Leslie since 2013.

“This is ridiculous,” Pile stressed.

“The sergeant (Catwell) must be stationed somewhere in Barbados at some time . . . This is a case from 2010 and we cannot have one-sided justice in this court, Sir,” she submitted to Magistrate Douglas Frederick.

“If, at this stage, and we cannot get any further than half of a witness, then the time is ripe for the matter to be dismissed for want of prosecution. The 12th hour, according to Shakespeare, has now arrived,” she argued.

Magistrate Frederick responded by saying that it was unfortunate that Leslie was away on training and was in High Court on the last occasion. He urged the prosecutor to get hold of both witnesses for the next court date on September 21.

Read the full story at Barbados Today.

Photo of Magistrate Douglas Frederick – Nation News


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

6 responses to “Magistrate Douglas Frederick too weak, too timid to take on disrespectful police officers.

  1. Frederick is at fault

    The backlog of cases in our courts is due to many factors including the setting of double and triple events on the same day by greedy lawyers who have every intent of delaying the process so they can make more money through multiple appearances on multiple dates.

    If it benefits their clients to delay lawyers will delay any way they can while witnesses move away or change their story or time makes their memories unclear.

    This isn’t all about the police not showing up, but that too is a major problem.

    This is the fault of the judges. They have allowed this problem to grow over the years mostly out of not wanting to criticize fellow lawyers.

    I agree with the article. The police do not respect the court when it comes to the importance of attending court. Magistrate Frederick lets this go on in his court so it does. His weakness has caused this problem. Has any Barbados judge ever issued a warrant to arrest a police officer for multiple no shows in court? Never.

    Our judges caused this problem and only they can solve it.

  2. WSD

    10 years for a criminal case not unusual in Barbados. That’s not justice for anybody.

  3. D Oracle.

    The Court recently put Acting COP Carrington in his place by citing him for contempt, an action brought by Wilfred Abrahams which has not been dropped and is still in process. Government and its various organs/Ministries hold the belief that generally the Law is for everybody else, not them. Only Judges and the omnipotent power of the Law and its Courts can disabuse them of their notion and impose the fact that there is only one law.

  4. Victor

    Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. The Bajan police should be paid much more, it is they who are the real Defence Force. I don’t wish to demean the Army yet the police on the ground, mixing with the plethora of foreigners moving about this small island who hugely outnumber us are the ones trained to spot anything unusual. I am sure many policemen and women who joined-up 20 years ago had no idea they might be dealing with Muslim terrorists in the future! Please pay the police serious salaries; we might get less corruption.

  5. The corruption in Barbados court system is mind boggling. Magistrates/Judges allow lawyers and Police dictate the out come of most cases, not because of evidence ,but because of the old “WHO KNOWS WHO “. The court system is completely disrespected by Police and Lawyers not showing up for trials. This then gives the Judge what they know would be the end result ,case dismissal of the case. What a joke.

  6. Sea Egg Poachers.Recently two Sea poachers were apprehended somewhere between Martin’s Bay and Glenburnie in St. John. One Eric Mayers, known to most of us as “grease”,and Anthony standard , know to most as “TC” though breaking the law ,which banned the poaching of sea eggs due to a scarcity of the delicacy for the past 10 years or so . Thetwo faced the court where they both pled guilty,but Eric wash hit with a fine of $5000 Bds . forthwith or 13 months in jail . As he could not come up with the fine he’ll have to serve 13 months in prison. This was indeed the second time Eric was caught or escaped being caught. Anthony on the other hand was caught for the first time and was given a suspended sentence of one years’ probation no jail time, fine.
    It should be noted that Mr.Anthony Standard is a white man and like the Judicial Systems in place in U S A, Canada, and many other racist societies ,blacks are treated differently.This is a double standard .
    It should be noted that two brothers Edgar andStehen Barrow who were also caught poaching Sea Eggs for the first time like some other first time Poachers were fined $1000 Bds. Why wasn’t Anthony Standard fined?
    Is it because “Blacks don’t matter”?