Prosecutors have withdrawn the charges against the suspended police officer who the Court of Appeal ordered be retired on three counts of deception.
When he presented his case to the Court of Appeal in May, Police Constable Elron Lewis, 29, of Troumaca contended that his trial had been unfair.
He further pointed out that he had served the prison term that had been imposed on him after his November 2016 conviction.
He argued to the appeal panel that he had much at stake in the matter since he had been suspended from duty, without pay, pending the outcome of his appeal.
The Court of Appeal agreed that Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne had acted unfairly.
He told the appeal court that Browne had proceed with his trial after denying an application for an adjournment by a new lawyer he had hired to defend him after his first counsel died.
Lewis told the justices of appeal that when the Serious Offences Court denied the application, his new lawyer withdrew his services, leaving him to defend himself.
The appeal court, therefore, quashed Lewis’ conviction and ordered a retrial.
However, when Lewis turned up at the Mesopotamia Magistrate’s Court, sitting in Kingstown, for his retrial on Wednesday, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that the prosecutor was withdrawing all charges against Lewis.
The prosecutor did not offer any explanation for the Crown’s decision.
Lewis was then told that he was free to go.
Shortly after Wednesday’s court hearing, Lewis told iWitness News that he will seek an audience with Commissioner of Police Colin John regarding his return to duty.
On Nov. 24, 2016 at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, Lewis, who was then 26 years old, was found guilty of charges that on Sep. 3 and Sept. 9, 2015, at Kingstown, he, by deception, dishonestly obtained EC$500 from Kenneth Peters of Lowmans Leeward, with the intention of permanently depriving him of it.
He was further found guilty of a charge that on Nov. 20, 2015, he, by deception, dishonestly obtained EC$130 from Peters, with the intention of permanently depriving him of it.
The Troumaca resident had first been arraigned on a deception charge on March 9, 2016, after which 30 similar charges were brought against him.
All the other charges were withdrawn.
He was sentenced to six months imprisonment for each of the EC$500 deceptions and four months for the EC$130, with the sentences running concurrently.
The chief magistrate had further ordered Lewis to compensate Peters in the sum of EC$1,000 by May 31, 2017, or go to jail for six months.
Browne further ordered Lewis to compensate Peters in the sum of EC$130 by May 31, 2017, or in default, go to prison for four months. The default sentences were also to run concurrently.
During the appeal, Lewis said that he had served the sentences which taught him a lot of lessons.
Lewis asked for a retrial, telling the court that he had not been dismissed as a police officer and was still on suspension pending the outcome of the appeal and any retrial.
“So I still have a lot to learn from this… My life has been at a standstill. I am being seen as a dishonest person,” he told the court, adding that he knows he is competent enough to be successful in a retrial.
Peters noted that he took part in his trial but did not cross examine any of the witnesses.
He said he had told the Serious Offences Court that he was not in a position to do so because he did not have the documents that had been disclosed to his lawyers.
He said that, in SVG, matters are sometimes adjourned more than 10 times, but his trial took place at the first hearing.
“It was a speedy trial, super speedy,” said Lewis, who also told the court that he had been treated as guilty until proven innocent.
A convoluted outcome.
ONCE A FRAUDSTER – ALWAYS A FRAUDSTER
Yes, the constitutional principle allows accused persons the ‘…Presumption of Innocence.’
This remains so until he is ‘…tried and found guilty, or pleads guilty.’
However, what this officer shall know that when he is accused of ‘…fraudulent acts,’ even when ‘…criminal charges are withdrawn,’ among law enforcement personnel, ‘…Once a Fraudster, Always a Fraudster.’
He shall also know that once he was criminally tainted and appeared to have brought the ‘…Police Service into Disrepute,’ that marked the end of his law enforcement career.
It is not necessarily what he might say to the Commissioner, but what the Commissioner may say to him.
Guess he would quicker see a ‘…green donkey pulling a jail cart laden with green bananas,’ than retaining his membership in the Police Service.
Brother Rawlston, what he needs to learn before going back to the Commissioner of Police, is that the society is bigger than all of those involved in this matter. And, that when the society is presented with an issue such as the one for which he was allegedly involved, he may try to paint it with the best white paint to declare his purity but public opinion will not shift to his lane.
Further, if he has the slightest inclin of the culture of the Police service, he would stay clear of and away from the ranks on parade and cheer from the public gallery.
Enough said, I am very sorry for his sad situation, and pray that he would have a good learning experience.
I don’t understand why he wasn’t offered time since he did not fire counsel but the lawyer died.That case 100 % would be overturned on appeal.He now needs to retain a good lawyer and fight for compensation.
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