The prosecution has filed an appeal in the case in which a Bequia couple was freed of a cocaine possession charge because the wrong law was cited on a certificate of analysis of the drug.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made the disclosure on radio on Monday as he outlined steps that his government has taken to address crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Under the law, before we came to office, the police prosecution couldn’t appeal against a magistrate’s decision or a magistrate’s sentencing. That was the preserve of the defence.
“Now, that’s changed. We have done similarly at the High Court, except to say we are not challenging a jury’s verdict or we are not challenging a sentencing in relation to somebody who is not sentenced to hang in a murder case,” Gonsalves said.
“And there are challenges which could be made if there are legal efforts by the court at whichever level by the prosecution. All these things have been put in place.”
However, the prime minister’s comments are somewhat puzzling since it was the prosecution that withdrew the case against the defendants after the error was realised.
The matter came to an end as the trial got underway last Wednesday.
The court was hearing expert witness testimony in the form of the analyst’s report.
The error was that the report cited an obsolete 1990 law, rather than its 2009 iteration, which is the current version.
On learning of the error, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that he was not proceeding any further with the matter.
This led to the accused being discharged.
The preliminary hearing was into a charge brought against Aldo Osbourne, 45, and Shari Ollivierre, 32, both of Bequia, that they had possession of 53lbs of cocaine on Nov. 15, 2017.
The drug is said to have a street value of EC$2,016,000.
The duo was also charged with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, an offence they allegedly committed between Nov. 13 and 15, 2017.
The couple had been granted EC$200,000 bail each and had been ordered to surrender their travel documents and report to the Port Elizabeth Police Station on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Grant Connell represented Osbourne and Kay Bacchus-Baptiste represented Olliverre.