A Barbadian businesswoman who recently had her court case withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock is searching for answers.
A distraught Jacqueline Proverbs told Barbados TODAY she was still in shock after turning up to court last Friday, only to hear that the office of the DPP had withdrawn the case in which she was the complainant.
Proverbs had accused Associate Managing Editor of the Nation Newspaper Timothy McDonald Slinger, and Don Winfield Harper of breaking into her bar, De Diva Hype Bar on Baxters Road, The City between March 10 and April 15 and stealing $2361 worth of liquor.
After carrying out investigations, police subsequently charged both men with burglary, but when the case was called on September 2, police prosecutor Sergeant Martin Rock told the court that he had received instructions from the Office of the DPP to discontinue the matter.
The resident of Oldbury Gardens, Gemswick, St Philip complained that up to now she had not been told why the case had been thrown out.
“When I went to court on Friday the prosecutor was on vacation and the acting prosecutor wasn’t there. Everyone that went to court got their cases adjourned. Mine was the only case that got dismissed,” Proverbs argued.
“I just don’t understand how they could just dismiss my case before it even went to trial. The police did their work and arrest the two men and then it just get throw out like that?”
Pointing out that she was in the courtroom when the decision was delivered, she said she immediately stood and questioned the reason behind it, but none was given.
“This is so unfair . . . up to now they can’t tell me why the case was dismissed before going to trial.”
Looking for some answers, Proverbs said she called the Commissioner of Police when she got home.
She said she was told to go to Central Police Station the following day, but when she arrived, she was told by a senior police officer that the prosecutor had only acted on instructions sent from the DPP’s office.
“He told me that he didn’t know why the case was dismissed and it wouldn’t be his place to question the DPP’s decision,” Proverbs said.
Having worked at Almond Beach Hotel for 14 years before it closed its doors, a clearly upset Proverbs revealed she had used some of the money she received in compensation to start the business.
To make matters worse, she said the hotel at which she now worked, Coconut Court, was closed for renovations.
“I just don’t understand how the police can arrest and charge two men, and then someone can dismiss a case just so, without it even going to trial.
“The police must have had evidence or a reason to arrest them. They wouldn’t just go and charge two men if they didn’t have any reason,” Proverbs lamented.
“This is not fair. This is not fair at all!”
Under Section 79 Subsection (2) clause (c) of the Constitution of Barbados, the DPP is allowed to discontinue prosecutions at any stage.
There is no requirement by law for the office of the DPP to offer explanation to either the victim of a criminal offence or to the Commissioner of Police, in whose name charges are brought, as to the reasons for the discontinuance of a case prior to the making of that decision.
Slinger, 62, of Bartletts Tenantry Road, Sargeant’s Village, Christ Church and Harper, 27, of Richmond Gap, St Michael were accused of entering De Diva Hype Bar, now closed, as trespassers and stealing 139 beers, 15 bottles of brandy, 12 bottles of whiskey, four bottles of vodka, two bottles of Irish whiskey and 13 bottles of wine belonging to Proverbs.
After the case was dismissed Slinger’s attorney Ralph Thorne QC, insisted that this was a “genuine case” in which both accused men were innocent.