It’s a scenario he had warned the family of the late Selwyn Blues Knight to prepare for.
Still, attorney-at-law for the Knight family Andrew Pilgrim, QC, said today’s bail offer to murder accused Constable Everton Randolph Gittens, “does not . . . look like justice”.
Gittens, who has been on remand at HMP Dodds for the past 15 months charged with Knight’s fatal shooting on March 15 last year, was offered bail to the tune of $200,000 following an appearance in the No. 2 Supreme Court before Justice Randall Worrell this morning.
He was due to be released pending the completion of paperwork, but up to the time of publication it was not clear whether he had been freed.
Pilgrim is a staunch critic of the pace at which the legal system works here and a strong advocate for bail for accused who have been awaiting trial for lengthy periods.
However, he took a dim view of the “unjust” decision to grant Gittens bail today on the heels of “irresponsible” comments by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite just two days ago.
“I think everybody knows my position, that in a system in which it is difficult for you to guarantee a trial in a reasonable time, probably in most cases people should get bail. The challenge is when the Attorney General chooses to make the type of irresponsible remarks that he made earlier this week it will make everything look unjust. So, this does not now look like justice but that is because of the remarks that the Attorney General made.
“So, that even if the judge in this case applied good principles and did the right thing in his mind in liberating the applicant for bail, it would now look . . . dirty and that is what is unfortunate and this could only happen when the Attorney General makes irresponsible remarks as he did,” the criminal attorney told Barbados TODAY.
Addressing the annual general meeting of the Barbados Police Association (BPA) on Wednesday, Brathwaite backed a call by the BPA for Gittens to be freed on bail.
To emphasize the point, he questioned why Gittens remained on remand while another murder accused, Andre Lord Evil Jackman, was out on bail.
“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 at the time.
The comment prompted Jackman’s legal representative Arthur Holder to declare he would seek dismissal of the charges against his client because he would not receive a fair trial.
It has also created a firestorm among the general public and in particular criminal attorneys.
“I told my clients in this matter I believed that one day this man [Everton Gittens] would get bail because if you can’t guarantee a trial in a reasonable time people should get bail. That is true for Everton, it is true Lord Evil, it is true for me if I get charge with a crime tomorrow . . . our system is too slow
. . . therefore you must give them bail.
“But it is not for me or the Attorney General or anyone else before a person gets bail to say this person should or shouldn’t or that one person who got bail, if they get bail, everybody else should. It is irresponsible. It is like a childish, stupid statement,” Pilgrim argued.
The outspoken attorney was not of the view that Brathwaite’s comment influenced the judge’s decision in anyway.
“I think this judge is an extremely reasonable judge and I don’t think that he would have been influenced in that way. Maybe he was even influenced by the fact that after the Attorney General made the remarks he did, it would be very difficult for someone to get a fair trial because it’s like the Attorney General is determining who is innocent and who is guilty. But I don’t think that this judge would be impressed by those types of perverse remarks,” he said, even as he made it clear that his clients would not be happy with the latest development.
“I hope that everyone that is charged would hope that the Attorney General will come out and speak in their favour because that’s the way our system is now. We have politicians intervening in the justice system, which is like a mark of uncivilized society.
“I am never happy about people being imprisoned so you see it is kind of an anomaly for me but I have to think on behalf of my clients and I don’t think they could possibly be happy,” Pilgrim added.
Gittens’ attorney Angela Mitchell-Gittens refused to comment on the matter.
The 43-year-old Gittens of Lot #1 Dash Gap, Bank Hall,
St Michael is also charged with wounding Selwyn Knight’s son Junior Knight with intent to maim, disfigure or disable him as well as recklessly engaging in conduct which placed Junior in danger of death or serious bodily harm. He has been on remand since April last year.