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