A lawyer, last Thursday, accused the prosecution of disrespecting the court after a police officer left with an exhibit before the trial was completed.
Grant Connell levelled the accusation in the case in which Redemption Sharpes resident, 40-year-old Allan Gibson pleaded guilty to charges that on Jan. 1, 2018, he had in his possession in Mustique six grammes of cannabis and three grammes of cocaine, with intent to supply it to another.
Connell, who was mitigating on behalf of his client, noted the quantities of the drugs.
“Your honour, six grammes and three grammes,” he said and asked to see the exhibits.
But prosecutor Police Constable Corlene Samuel told the defence counsel that a police officer had already left with them.
“They left already? Case ain’t done!” Connell responded.
“What if I asked the judge to change the plea now? At least have some respect for the court. Because is Mustique? We’re done with this slave thing already,” the lawyer said.
He had earlier said that the constitutional rights of Vincentians accused of crime in Mustique are routinely violated in that they are fired before a court appearance.
“And then the officer here just sit here and watch the exhibit leave,” Connell said to an officer who was sitting in the court.
The officer, a detective, however, said he was merely asked to escort the accused men to prison and was not involved in the matter.
Prosecutor Sergeant Delroy Tittle then rose and told the court that the officer would be back in court shortly.
Connell, however, said that the officer who left with the exhibit should be held in contempt of court.
“I am dealing with a matter, the court has not made an order on a drug matter and a police officer leaves with it (the exhibit)?”
The magistrate, Bertie Pompey, then offered to have the matter stood down so that the officer could bring back the exhibit to court.
“Your honour,” Connell said, “The usual break in protocol. Every case I do here, the prosecutor holds up the exhibit… Come on Mustique, Mustique,” Connell said in his continued suggestion that special considerations were being given because the crime took place in that Grenadine island, the playground of the world’s rich and famous.
Prosecutor Samuel then told the court that the police were waiting to receive the exhibit from the exhibit keeper.
Connell commented, “Am I to believe the audacity of the prosecution that they don’t even walk with the exhibit because it is a Mustique matter? She gone call the exhibit keeper? That means it was never here.”
The magistrate said that the police were probably anticipating a not guilty plea.
“You cannot anticipate justice. No because it’s Mustique. You expect him to plead guilty and you just don’t bring it. I want to see what they are talking about,” Connell responded.
“It is coming,” Samuel said.
“It should be here,” Connell responded.
“You don’t twist for the poor and adjust for the rich. You don’t do that. It’s 2018, not 1818. I preached to you yesterday. I will preach to you today again until I get it in your head,” he said, continuing a line he took with the prosecutor since the court resumed on Jan. 2, after the holiday break.
When the court resumed, the prosecutor showed the exhibits, which showed the drugs all parcelled out.
The magistrate said that he would have reprimanded the man on the cannabis charge had it not been for the way they were packaged, which suggests they were for sale.
Gibson was fined EC$200 for the cannabis to be paid in one month or serve three months in prison.
For possession of cocaine, he was fined EC$500 to be paid within a month or four months imprisonment.