The former police officer charged in connection with the theft of firearms and ammunition for the Georgetown Police Station was, on Thursday, denied bail for a second time.
Zackrie Latham, 25, of New Grounds, was denied bail, based on an application by the prosecutor, Sergeant of Police Renrick Cato.
In maintaining the prosecution’s objection to bail, Cato told the Serious Offences Court that investigators have made some headway as it relates to the recovery of the missing firearm on which he had hinged his objection at the arraignment on June 22.
Cato said that the prosecution was asking for another week as investigators were making headway in their efforts to recover the weapon.
“This is not a cutlass or a knife. It is a firearm,” he told the court.
Cato said that the prosecution was fearful that if Latham was granted bail, based on the information of the lead investigator, Assistant Superintendent of Police Oswin Elgin Richards, he would hinder efforts to recover the weapon.
In response to the prosecutor’s submission, defence counsel, Grant Connell, said that at the arraignment, the objection to bail was based on the number of rounds of ammunition and a firearm that had not been recovered.
The lawyer said that he had referred to the objection as a fishing expedition.
“Today they have come and they say there is some bite. So, this week, they are feeling a bite, they feel something on a hook,” Connell told the court.
He said that once Latham could provide adequate surety, he should be granted bail.
Connell said that Latham has sufficient ties to the jurisdiction and can show the court that he will show up for trial.
He said he was mindful that the case “touches and concerns a police station and security”, but a bail application is not a vent to spite or get back at someone.
Connell said that a bail application is also not an opportunity to vent frustration, adding that the police are clearly frustrated.
The lawyer said that his client is not a flight risk, adding that the prosecutor has said they were looking for a firearm, and not a cutlass or a knife.
“What am I supposed to say? Cutlass or a knife can’t kill? Cutlass doesn’t have bullets?”
He said that the investigator should go on oath and tell the court what he is looking for, rather than merely saying he is looking for “a missing firearm”.
Connell said that because of the nature of the origin of the “alleged missing firearm”, the prosecution should know what is missing.
“But that, in itself, is a trial,” he said, adding that the investigator should be able to say on oath, “Firearm serial number XXX is missing, from our records, and we are looking for it.”
He said that objecting to bail on the ground that it was not a cutlass or a knife that investigators are looking for and saying they are making headway, “so did Christopher Columbus.
“He saw land several times,” he said, adding that it is amazing how the prosecution says ‘just another week’.
Connell, however, said that sitting in prison for another week is torture.
“And we have to remember, you know, he fulfilled the criteria to be a policeman,” Connell said of Latham, who was fired from the police force on June 18, after he was charged, less than two years after enlisting.
The lawyer added that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a person is still innocent until proven guilty.
In handing down her ruling, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne said that Connell had rightly highlighted that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty.
Browne, however, noted that the offences are serious, adding that while there might be some level of frustration, the court cannot withhold bail ad infinitum.
She said she is giving the prosecution a short chance to complete their investigation and then she will review bail on July 8.
Latham is charged with official corruption, burglary, sale of firearms without a dealer’s licence under the firearms act, sale of ammunitions without a dealer’s licence under the firearms act, possession of a firearm without a licence under the firearms act, possession of ammunitions without a licence under the firearms act, possession of a prohibited weapon without authorization of the minister, and possession of criminal property in connection with the disappearance of firearms from the Georgetown Police Station.
Avi King, 26, a labourer, of Diamonds; and Meshach Dublin, aka 26, “Shane” and “3D”, an unemployed Diamonds resident, have also been slapped with various charges relating to the firearms and ammunition.
King pleaded guilty to all but one of the charges against him, while Dublin has pleaded guilty to all charges. They, too, will reappear in court on July 8 but are due to be sentenced on July 13.
On Thursday, Connell objected after Cato asked that two of the charges be put to King again. The magistrate said that she would ask someone to act as a friend of the court and speak to King on the matter.