The attorney representing murder accused Andre Lord Evil Jackman said he planned to file for dismissal of the charge against his client due to “some level of compromise” of his case by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
In fact, Arthur Holder said he would likely ask that the case be quashed before the trial even begins because “my client can never be guaranteed a fair trial as per the constitution”.
In an address yesterday at the annual general meeting of the Barbados Police Association Brathwaite said it made no sense that Lord Evil was out on bail while Constable Everton Gittens remained on remand for the murder of Selwyn Blues Knight on March 15, last year. Gittens was also charged with wounding Knight’s son Junior with intent to maim, disfigure or disable him, as well as recklessly engaging in conduct which placed Junior Knight in danger of death or serious bodily harm, on the same date.
“If you, for example, can release on bail someone who names himself Lord Evil, I see no reason why you cannot release Constable Gittens on bail,” Brathwaite said.
The Attorney General’s comment got Holder’s immediate attention, and in an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, he said Brathwaite was out of place and had breached his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
“So basically, you will be asking for a dismissal of the charges based on the fact that there has been some level of compromise by the Government’s chief legal advisor. And remember, a jury pool is picked from the public,” an aggrieved Holder said.
Jackman was charged with the murder of Charlie Dume, who was shot and killed on Nelson Street, the City in 2014.
Holder likened the Attorney General’s comment to an attack on the independence of the judiciary and the ability of judges to dispense justice.
“It is an assault and an attack on the judiciary of this country. He is questioning the capacity of the judges in the dispensation of justice in relation to the granting of bail. Perhaps before the Attorney General makes comments of this nature he ought to understand the circumstances surrounding the two distinct cases,” Holder said.
The Attorney General also suffered the wrath of criminal attorney Andrew Pilgrim, QC, who saw yesterday’s comment as an attempt to “meddle” with the courts.
Pilgrim also tied the statement to a disclosure last month by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that he was “hit for six” when he found out that people on remand for murder here were being granted bail.
“If the Attorney General has made these unfortunate comments, it shows that he is prepared to meddle with what is going on in the courts of this country and that is extremely unfortunate, especially against the background where the Prime Minister was a few weeks ago saying that he was hit for six to learn that people could get bail for murder in this country.
“It is a sad comment on the state of politics in this country when people who are a part of the political directorate do not understand what is going on in terms of the grant or non grant of bail and do not appreciate why they need to be sensitive as to why courts grant or don’t grant bail,” the Queen’s Counsel told Barbados TODAY.
Pilgrim reiterated his position that the authorities needed to examine all the circumstances surrounding the granting of bail, particularly the slow pace at which the wheels of justice turn.
He proposed that bail be given to anyone who could not be given a trial in a reasonable time, whether the offence was shoplifting or murder.
“Now in Barbados, we have shown ourselves to be totally incapable of guaranteeing anyone a trial in a reasonable time whether that is a speeding ticket or whether it is a murder or treason indictment. We are incapable of that. Therefore we need to seriously examine whether or not almost every person who comes before the courts in this country should be admitted to bail,”