Manager of NICE Radio, Douglas De Freitas. (iWN file photo)

The prosecution has informed the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court that it wishes to amend the 12 charges brought against radio broadcaster Douglas De Freitas relating to comments he allegedly made on air after the December 2015 general elections.

In August 2016, De Freitas was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to 12 counts that on Dec. 10, 2015, at Dorsetshire Hill, he made a number of statements that were “likely to cause fear or alarm or to disturb the public peace”, contrary to section 64(1) of the Criminal Code.

At the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday, defence counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste told the court that she is still asking that the magistrate Rickie Burnett recuse himself and that the ballot boxes be brought to court if the matter goes to trial.

Then-Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams, had denied the request from the defence counsel, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste that access to the ballot boxes be provided as part of her defence of her client.

Bacchus-Baptiste’s application for the magistrate to recuse himself is based on comments that then-Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin John, had made in an interview with the media in June 2016.

John’s comment came after Magistrate Bertie Pompey recused himself, mid-trial, from the case in which opposition politician Ben Exeter was being tried on charges of resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and carrying a (licensed) gun to a public meeting.

Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett. (iWN file photo)

Magistrate Bertie Pompey cannot hear the matter because he has a lawsuit against De Freitas before the court and Magistrate Zoila Ellis-Browne has recused herself from hearing the matter as her husband, Mike Browne, is a former minister in the ruling Unity Labour Party administration.

Dominican Senior Counsel, Anthony Astaphan, one of the main lawyers representing the government in the two election petitions brought after the December 2015 polls, has suggested that the charges against De Freitas be discontinued.

When the matter came up for case management on Monday, Bacchus-Baptiste told the court that she has made certain submissions to the court, including an application for disclosure, which the prosecution has steadfastly refused.

She said she was yet to receive a response to her request for certain disclosures, adding that with a new prosecutor, Karim Nelson, handling the matter, she does not know if the response would be the same.

Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste. (iWN file photo)

The lawyer said that should the magistrate decide to not recuse himself, there is still the matter of her application that the ballot boxes be brought to court, adding that the charges touch and concern “very, very distinctly the ballot boxes.

“You can’t charge somebody for saying certain things about the ballot boxes that is not true but you don’t want to show the ballot boxes. That is totally unfair; completely unfair,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.

She said that most of the 12 charges have to do with the security of the ballot boxes.

“And the law is clear about how ballot boxes are to be secured. There are photographs out there to show that indeed, the ballot boxes were not properly secured.”

She said that the Crown is resisting the application to produce the ballot boxes but is also not willing to drop the charges.

The magistrate said that the submission that he recuse himself has to be ventilated in court.

He gave Nelson until May 1 to file a written submission in response to Bacchus-Baptiste’s application that he recuse himself.

Crown Counsel, Karim Nelson. (IWN file photo)

Nelson told the court that the Crown is making an application to amend each charge, noting that each charge alleges that De Freitas made comments, which are “likely to cause fear, alarm, or disturb the public peace.

He said the prosecutor would like to excise “fear” and “or disturb the public peace”.

“So it should read, ‘which is likely to cause alarm’,” Nelson said, adding that this relates to all 12 charges.

The magistrate said that when the matter comes back before him, he would make that amendment and put the charges to De Freitas again.

Bacchus-Baptiste told the court that her client has to be out of the state for an extended period of time for medical reasons.

The matters were, therefore, adjourned to May 17.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Kay Bacchus that is the most Ludacris reasoning I ever heard for an application to produce. You trying psychology on the prosecution lololol

    • Wrong! The most ludacris reasoning comes from your boss who has a son like Jesus and was appointed by God. The same guy that says that it is fine for a judge to make a decision in court based on evidence told to him outside of court. Are you and the fake lawyer getting paid to troll the internet? I hope so, I would not want to make myself look stupid on purpose without getting some compensation for it.

      • LostPet, you have the most to say about everyone’s opinion once it doesnt fall in line with your own. I am adequately compensated and do not have to depend on any political party nowhere in the world for my daily bread.

        You and others like you believe that your opinion is the only one and it is the gospel truth. That my dear is the beauty or evil to perception. Who is the troller? You dont hear anyone calling you a mouthpiece for the Opposition even in areas where you are clearly wrong.

        I will continue to state my opinion, within all acceptable limits. Stay LOST and stop trying to BULLY PEOPLE!

    • Al, what is so Ludacris about it? If you alleged that someone damage your property and bring them to court don’t you have to present evidence, such as the what has been damaged or photographs of the thing you alleged the person damaged? It is the natural progression of evidence in the legal process. Therefore, she is within her rights to do so. But why protective of the ballot boxes in the first place? Wouldn’t you like to know that the ballot boxes in which you cast your votes are protected and not tampered with? Politics really do blind many of us!

      • Lololol.. BROWN BOY you won’t understand lol… She tried to reverses the burden of proof on the prosecution in the pleadings. Also the ballot boxes are separate from this complaint therefore you can’t just bring it in for your other agendas.
        VINCY LAWYER trust me Lostpet don’t have a clue and not worth my time. Sure everyone knows who the real troll is lololol…..

  2. Are they still pursuing these petty cases? What happens to freedom of expression? Isn’t this a constitutional right in SVG. Real democracy do not suppress free speech. Time to change these antiquated laws.

    • You are a voice of reason as well as “Vincy in New York”. You and all intelligent people are considered a threat to an authoritarian regime.

    • Thank you Agustus Carr. And why are they so protective of the ballot boxes being inspected? Some-ting wang!

  3. Again it looks like the Corrupt ULP Regime is slowly being exposed for what they are. It is so sad that we all tolerate a government that conducts elections in such a way, without transparency and suspicious ballots as well as building supplies. Then they come up with such bogus charges against DeFreitas! If what he said is “likely” to cause “fear”, “alarm” and “disturb the public peace”, how come it did not? That makes the issue dead on arrival. The ULP desire to shut down all opposition voices by deprivation of funds with lawsuits, charges and so many other methods is evidence of what their government is all about. Free speech is being attacked by this authoritarian regime. When the crimes of the government are exposed they use tremendous resources and propaganda to demonize the victims so that they themselves come out pure and clean, like jesus and appointed by God.
    The saddest thing of all is that there are many that fall for this.

  4. Obviously you don’t know anything about law and freedom of speech or you wouldn’t make such a dotish” comment lololol smh

    • You know so please enlighten us my good fellow. We are waiting! Don’t just be cussing out people tell how the law should be applied instead of criticize. Enlighten us with you ignorance!

      • Lol…. Let me come down to level and give you a small example…. If I go on television and stated of a matter of fact that BROWN BOY stole money from me and by doing so I cause you to be labeled as a thief by a business associate yiu planed to do business with so in the process it cause you making money from that potential deal
        ……. Do you believe because I have a freedom of speech or expression it’s lawful for me to cause you harm?????

        I’m no lawyer but I have common sense and I research law plus I had my experience in courts as self representation.. FYI as I said before on here I’m no loyalist of any party. I’m a business entrepreneur and want the best for SVG

  5. Enough of all this election drama and related issues!!!!!!

    It is time that the country moves forward and both sides are contributing to the continuing hostile and divided climate in the country.

    THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO MOVE FORWARD!!!

    • How could the country move forward if there is allegation of election fraud? If there is one evidence that our election was tampered with then we as citizens should be concerned. If that is the case, our vote does not count and who want to lead us are not the ones in power. I believe the question should be, why is the current administration so afraid to show the country that our election was conducted fairly instead of hiring expensive lawyers to the taxpayers to prevent all that? I rest my case!

      • You said it best….allegations. The country is still waiting for some evidence to substantiate these claims. I mean the NDP flew in 24 lawyers and had how much home grown ones and yet, to this date….NOTHING A COURT WILL CONSIDER???

        Que lastima!

  6. Pm Ralph should be put in solitary confinement.He want to take awwa svg citizens freedom of speech.I hate the ULP.

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