The star witness in the case in which three members of a Mesopotamia family are being tried after they poured a hot liquid on a fellow resident of the agricultural district, failed to turn up to court up for a second time on Friday.
Defence counsel, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, therefore, asked Magistrate Ricky Burnette to throw out the case for want of prosecution, a step she had stopped short of when the matter was adjourned for the same reason on Jan. 13.
But the magistrate, sitting at the Mesopotamia Magistrate’s Court, refused the application, granting, instead, one by the prosecution that a compelling warrant be issued, ordering the key witness, Clint Antoine, to come to court on April 21.
Senior Prosecutor, Adolphus Delplesche, had told the court that, in the interest of fairness, he would like to exhaust all avenues available to the Crown to get the witness to testify.
The magistrate’s decision came after the court learnt that contact was made with Antoine up to Friday morning, leading the court to conclude that he is not interested in testifying.
Pastor Nigel Morgan, his wife, Althia Morgan, and their daughter, Krystal Morgan, of Hopewell, Mesopotamia are seen in an April 9, 2016 video pouring a hot liquid on Cuthbert Victory, a resident of Caruth, Mesopotamia, in a gutter near the Morgans’ house.
They have each been slapped with one count of causing grievous bodily harm.
Speaking to iWitness News after the court proceedings, Delplesche said he did not think that the Crown’s case was in jeopardy.
“At this moment, I wouldn’t say that the case is in jeopardy. We have a few more witnesses to call. We have called the virtual complainant before, who, in my view, gave good evidence. So, I don’t think it is in jeopardy. I think we still have a case,” Delplesche said.
He said that compelling a witness to come to court is part of the legal options.
“If a witness doesn’t want to come, having been summoned, the court has the authority to issue a warrant for him. That doesn’t affect the case in any way.”
Delplesche said he doesn’t think that the summons would affect the quality of the testimony that the witness might give.
“If he is reluctant to give evidence, the law makes provisions that he can be dealt with in a particular way,” he said, adding that while treating the witness as a hostile one is an option, “I am not saying that he will be.”
He said that from a prosecutorial point of view, the Crown would do the best it can.
“We will present the best evidence that the prosecutors can. Justice is left to the court. The court will make a determination, at the end of the day, whether or not we would have satisfied the threshold in a criminal matter. Justice has two sides: justice is for the defence, justice is for the prosecution. At the end of the day, the court makes the decision, not the prosecution,” said Delplesche who came off his vacation to appear in court on Friday.
“I am a professional prosecutor and once I am in the country, and I have a matter to do, I will come and do it. That’s what I like to do,” he told iWitness News.