One firearm and “plenty ammunition” are still missing in the case in which firearms and ammunition disappeared from the Georgetown Police Station, a prosecutor said on Monday.
Sergeant of Police Renrick Cato made the disclosure at the Serious Offences Court as he objected to bail for three of the men charged with various offences in the case.
Zackrie Latham, 25, a former police constable of New Grounds; Avi King, 26, a labourer, of Diamonds; Meshach Dublin, aka 26, “Shane” and “3D”, an unemployed Diamonds resident, and Myron Samuel, 28, self-employed, of Layou, have been charged with various offences in connection with the firearm and ammunition.
The charges suggest that at least one M-4 rifle, two Glock 22 pistols and two hundred rounds of ammunition were stolen from the police station.
The charges speak to 580 rounds of .40 ammunition, though it is not clear, on the face of the charges, what quantity of these rounds, if any, are referred to in multiple charges.
Cato did not object to bail for Samuel, who pleaded not guilty to the three charges against him.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, who presided, released Samuel on EC$20,000 bail and ordered him return to court on July 13.
However, he objected to bail for the other three defendants.
Latham is facing three charges by himself, but is jointly charged with King and Dublin on five counts.
Latham and King are jointly charged on four counts.
Dublin is charged, singly, with three counts, while King is facing one charge by himself.
Latham pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, Dublin pleaded guilty to all the charges, while King pleaded guilty to all but one.
In relation to the sentencing of Dublin, Cato asked the court to adjourn the matter for the hearing of the facts and sentencing.
‘not 20 rounds of ammunition’
Cato told the court that the prosecution was accepting King’s guilty pleas and asked for an adjournment in relation to the matter in which he pleaded not guilty, and in relation to Latham’s matters.
The prosecutor further objected to bail for the defendant on the ground that the offences were serious and that there is “a number of ammunitions” in the matter that has not been recovered.
A firearm has also not been recovered, Cato told the court, adding that the prosecution was fearful that if the men are granted bail now they would hinder the efforts of the police to recover the firearm and ammunition.
“This is not 20 rounds of ammunition. This is plenty ammunition still outstanding,” the prosecutor said.
He said that the prosecution was asking for two weeks to complete the investigation, after which the prosecution would return to the court with a report as to how the Crown intends to proceed.
‘not a hanging offence’
However, counsel Grant Connell who is representing all of the defendants except for King, stood and repeated Cato’s comments about a number of ammunition and one firearm not being recovered and that the offences are serious.
Connell said that there are “more learned individuals who have said this is not a hanging offence”.
The lawyer said it is known that police investigations could take “three months, four months”.
He argued that Latham has significant ties to the jurisdiction and is “a man of good character, exceptional qualities…
“He is an ex-police, so, therefore, he would have met criteria beyond,” Connell reasoned.
The counsel said that if the police are saying that their investigation is incomplete, whether they are also saying it would be complete in two weeks.
Connell noted that there are charges before the court, adding, “so to come at this stage and say you want to continue a fishing expedition, which I humbly submit, with greatest respect, it is, to restrict his freedom, is unfair; not because it is a matter of national security”.
He asked what then would be said of a charge of manslaughter, in which life cannot be restored.
“You going wait until the life comes back to grant bail?”
Bail is open, at the initial arraignment, to people accused of manslaughter.
Connell said that the police have their job to do and the court must shackle Latham with the necessary condition that will prevent him from interfering with police investigation “if we could call it that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The lawyer said that reporting conditions and a curfew are some of the things that the court could impose.
He noted that Latham is innocent until proven guilty, adding that his client should not automatically be denied bail because “is a police and the allegation is a building that supposed to have the security of a police station”.
The lawyer said he trusts that the case would proceed in two weeks, adding that Latham can supply sufficient surety and his travel documents can be confiscated.
He said that no bail conditions are one hundred per cent guarantees that the accused would show up to court.
Connell argued that the bail could be “ten thousand or one hundred thousand” but it is the conditions that matter.
“Not because of the nature of the case and who may be involved … that has nothing to do with what happens in these four walls. Who out, stay out,” he said, telling the chief magistrate that she is the one who makes the decision.
The lawyer said that the grounds submitted by the prosecution cannot block Latham from getting bail.
He said that it seems that Assistant Superintendent of Police Oswin Elgin Richards, as the head of the Major Crime Unit, which is conducting the investigation, has nobody to delegate the case to, having led the investigation himself.
“I submit that in those conditions, ASP should take the stand and on oath tell this court that firearms are missing, what ammunition is missing and what he is left to do, because all that comes into this case,” Connell said.
“If you don’t know what’s missing, that’s no fault of his. If the whole armoury missing, we will know that and check all the other stations…” the lawyer said, referring to the senior detective, a former prosecutor.
The lawyer said what might or might not be missing from a police station has nothing to do with the court, adding that justice is the common denominator
“You put everything above and you divide it by justice. And once that equation is set up in that way, this man should get his bail today. Who out of the court, stay out,” the lawyer said.
Bail denied despite ‘strenuous submissions’
The chief magistrate thanked Connell for his “strenuous submissions” but said she would not consider bail at this time.
She, however, said it was not an opportunity for the investigators to “sleep and slumber” as the court was not going to withhold bail “ad infinitum”.
Connell told the court that the prosecution is seeking full disclosure, including all statements, DVDs, records of armoury and the diaries with respect to the timeframe.
The chief magistrate told him that disclosure includes all that in the prosecution’s possession.
Connell, however, said he has not seen what the prosecution has so he is making a request of what they would bring to him.
The matter has been adjourned to July.