Advertisement 87
Advertisement 211
The defendants. From left: Luzette King, Adriana King, Robert "Patches" King and John Mofford outside the Calliaqua Magistrate's Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.
The defendants. From left: Luzette King, Adriana King, Robert “Patches” King and John Mofford outside the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.
Advertisement 219

Calliaqua Magistrate John Ballah has granted a third “final adjournment” in the case in which four people are charged with holding an unlawful public meeting near Parliament in Kingstown in February 2023.

On Monday, Ballah noted that the final adjournment accorded with the guidelines.

“So, I am putting it out there. And there are members of the media here so they could spread the word for me. Any attorney who comes into this matter or tries to come into this matter after today, be mindful that I am utilising the guidelines,” Ballah said.

“And, on Monday next week, when we come, if an attorney sends any documentation and tells me that they are in the matter and they want an adjournment or want the matter stood down, it would not happen,” he said.

He said the trial is the only matter listed for Monday and whereas the court usually begins its sittings at 9:30 a.m., the trial would begin at 9 a.m. “sharp”.

Advertisement 271

The trial of Adriana King, Luzette King, Robert “Patches” King and John Mofford was scheduled to take place at the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, the court having given a final adjournment one week earlier on May 28.

When the matter was called the magistrate asked the accused if they had received disclosure.

Luzette King, however, told the court that even before addressing that matter, at some point she would like to know what the charge against her is.

Luzette King
Defendant Luzette King, outside the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.

She said she had pleaded “to something slightly different” than was on a document she had.

The defendants are charged that on Feb. 23, 2023, at Kingstown, they  each failed to comply with the instructions of Roycel Davis, Corporal of Police 471, when instructed to disperse from an unlawfully held public meeting which was held within 200 yards of the Court House building when the House of Assembly was sitting, contrary to Section 10(3)(a) of the Public Order Act.

Luzette King said another matter was that she had met a police officer that morning and had asked him if he was a witness in the trial and he had said yes.

“And I said, ‘Where is your statement?’ He said, ‘You have it’,” King told the court but said she did not have a statement from that officer.

Luzette King further told the court that she believed that Davis was the main witness in the case.

“We do not have that statement,” Luzette King told the court, adding that she remembered reading that statement when she was represented by counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who is no longer involved in the case.

Responding to a question from the magistrate, Luzette King said she remembered that Bacchus-Baptiste had that statement.

The defendant, however, said she had not gotten that statement from the lawyer.

 Luzette King further told the court that she had asked for disclosure and a document she had “clearly states ‘further disclosure’, which means there was previous disclosure.

“We did not get that,” she told the court.

The magistrate told the defendant that he would not say what ‘further disclosure’ means but added that he understood it to mean that the prosecution was giving some additional information.

John Mofford
Defendant John Mofford outside the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.

Responding to Luzette King’s contention, the prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police Shamrack Pierre said that he had some documents that he wished to show to the court.

He said that on Nov. 21, 2023, all parties were served with disclosure personally before Bacchus-Baptiste was retained.

“I have all the documents signed by the defendants,” the prosecutor said, adding that he had asked his office for them because he had “anticipated something like this”.

Pierre said the prosecution had disclosed to the defendants personally all the documents that had not been disclosed to Bacchus-Baptiste.

He said that copies of disclosure were sent to Bacchus-Baptiste when she was retained in the matter.

The magistrate said the documents that the prosecutor had submitted to the court appear to show that disclosure was served personally on all three of the  Kings.

Shamarck Pierre 2
Prosecutor acting Corporal of Police Shamrack Pierre in a Sept. 11, 2023 photo.

Pierre informed the court that Mofford had always indicated that his disclosure was to be made to Bacchus-Baptiste.

Each of the Kings confirmed that the signature on the document submitted by the prosecution was there.

The magistrate informed the prosecutor that the court would need photocopies of the documents.

He then told the defendants that he understood what they were saying but based on the documentation presented to the court, he was ruling that the matter move forward to trial.

He then invited the prosecutor to call his first witness.

However, Pierre told the court that based on the information that he had received that morning he did not “walk with the equipment” because there are some images that he wanted to show.

Pierre said he had received information that lawyer Ronnia Durham-Balcombe was representing Luzette King in the matter.

Robert King
Defendant Robert “Patches” King outside the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.

The magistrate said that is the information that also came to his office, adding that Durham-Balcombe had written asking that the matter be stood down until 10:30 a.m.

He said he wanted to believe that the Officer of the Director of Public Prosecution had received the same information.

Ballah said Durham-Balcombe knew that the  High Court had training that morning and that he (the magistrate) had that same training that afternoon.

The magistrate said he was “surprised” that a lawyer was sending him a letter saying she wanted the matter to be stood down until 10:30 a.m.

Ballah, however, said he wanted to give the defendants the benefit of the justice system.

“This might be a blessing in disguise for all of us,” the magistrate said.

He told the defendants whose documents had been given to Bacchus-Baptiste to get them from her.

But Luzette King told the court that the information he was referring to in relation to Durham-Balcome was concerning a High Court matter that had nothing to do with the extant case.

The magistrate told the defendant that those things happen but that was the information that he had received.

Luzette King told the court that she was anxious to have the matter heard.

Adriana King
Defendant Adriana King, outside the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024.

Meanwhile, Adriana raised with the court some concerns about one of the documents disclosed to her, saying that the answer she had provided to a question in her caution statement was not on the documents.

The magistrate told the prosecutor that any issues that Adriana has concerning her caution statement should be addressed.

Ballah told Pierre that if there is a need for further disclosure, this should be done.

“I don’t want matter, anything hindering this matter going forward next week Monday.”

Ballah said the guidelines suggest that once the court sets a time, the lawyers must put things in place to ensure that they meet the court’s timeline.

“So, I expect no hiccups next week, by God’s grace, once we all have life. And I am hopeful that we all will have life. So, I expect no hiccups from the prosecution, I expect no hiccups coming from the side of the defence.”

The magistrate said that the matter was going on for too long and he needed to get it out of the court system.