ST. JOHN’S — The attorneys representing two ex-policemen charged with drug trafficking are threatening a lawsuit against the government after Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh dismissed five indictable drug charges against them yesterday.
“The defendants had no case to answer because there was no evidence to support any charge laid against them by the prosecution. This clearly shows that the prosecution knew from the get go there was no basis to lay the charges,” defence attorney Lawrence Daniel said.
The men, Arleigh Byer and Cosbert Sergeant faced joint charges of possession, possession with intent, drug trafficking, possession with intent to sell, and conspiracy to traffic 35 kilos cocaine.
The contraband, valued close to $1 million, was found in a house for which they were assigned caretakers.
The attorney, Daniel, said he was pleased with the court’s decision because it accepted that his clients were never occupants of the house where the drugs were found.
Daniel said his clients’ rights had been infringed upon and reputation damaged, as he noted they have been unable to gain employment since the charges were laid last year.
The dismissal of the charges followed a no-case submission by defence attorneys Steadroy Benjamin and Daniel, yesterday.
Benjamin summed up the charges as malicious prosecution.
In upholding the submission, Walsh said evidence was lacking since the prosecution failed to link Byer and Sergeant to the cocaine found on the scene of a double murder at Cedar Valley on October 4, 2012.
The ex-cops were allegedly custodians of the house in which 34-year-old and Alwin Robin and Dermoth Alix Riviere, 32, both of Dominica, were found dead, shot execution style to the head.
With the drug charges dismissed, the men now face only 15 allegations of money laundering.
They remain on the $800,000 bail they had obtained in the High Court on those money-laundering charges. A cash deposit of $200,000 was ordered in addition to other conditions including reporting to the police station closest to them. (Antigua Observer)