A man who pleaded guilty to a charge saw the plea vacated and a trial ordered for him and his two co-accused, after the court heard his explanation.
Myron Small appeared before Magistrate Bertie Pompey at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and pleaded guilty to a charge that on Aug. 7, at South Rivers, he had in his possession three sacks of breadfruit, six bunches of bananas and five dasheens reasonably suspected being stolen or unlawfully obtained.
Small, along with Emmrol John and Kenneth Ross, were in a vehicle in which the agricultural produce was found.
John and Ross pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecutor, Corporal of Police 817 Stapleton did not object to their bail but asked that they provide sufficient surety.
The prosecutor asked that the facts be read and that the trial of John and Ross take place before a different court.
In presenting the facts, the arresting officer, Constable 1014 Samuel said that on Aug. 7, about 5:30 a.m., the Colonarie Police Station received a telephone call from South Rivers regarding a silver Noah, registration number RN953.
Samuel said that as police officers were responding, they met the vehicle travelling in the direction of Colonarie.
The policemen stopped the vehicle, in which the three defendants were travelling, and asked the driver for his driver’s license.
The officer found the produce during a search of the vehicle.
Small, who is from Vermont, was informed of his rights and taken to the Colonarie Police Station.
He did not give a statement to the police. He was later arrested and charged.
Small told the court that he works with John, who is originally from South Rivers but lives at Vermont.
The defendant said he usually goes to South Rivers to “pick breadfruit and other things when he (John) buys from people.
“So that’s why I come before you and I plead guilty ‘cause I been in the vehicle with him,” Small told the court.
“Why you didn’t tell the police this?” Pompey asked Small.
Small said he told the police this but later said that he did not give them a statement.
“This is where in the criminal law the burden is shifted somewhat. Some countries find it unconstitutional — like St. Lucia,” Pompey said.
“You have a duty to say where you got it from. If they (police) suspect that you have stolen goods, only you have to know where you got it from.”
“I have to enter a not guilty plea,” Pompey said.
The magistrate set bail in the sum of EC$1,500 each with one surety. The matter was adjourned for Aug. 30, and transferred to the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court.
John was able to secure bail, however, his two co-accused did not.