A prosecutor’s request for an adjournment in a two-year-old theft case did not go down well with defence attorney Steve Gollop today.
The lawyer unsuccessfully argued for Magistrate Douglas Frederick to dismiss the case against his client, Christaline Edwina Ackie, of Lot 80 Mangrove Park, St Philip, who is charged with stealing $36,010 in cash belonging to Nuclear Medicine Barbados Incorporated sometime between August 22 and October 26, 2015.
When the matter was called this morning, the Crown’s representative, Sergeant Rudy Pilgrim, informed the magistrate that the file was now before the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration. He therefore requested an adjournment to await further instructions.
However, Gollop pointed to the “inordinate delay” in getting the matter started, saying that his side was “no wiser now than when the [case] began” as the Crown had given no indication as to when disclosure would be provided.
Gollop charged that his client was in a “state of limbo” in a matter in which it appeared there were “significant gaps in the case of the Crown”.
“I ask that the case be dismissed for want of prosecution,” he submitted.
In response, Sergeant Pilgrim argued that a probe into such a matter called for “voluminous investigations” and that it had not been an inordinate amount of time as the accused was not currently incarcerated but out on bail.
“In the scheme of things, [the 2015 offence] is just the other day . . . in an offence that involves a paper trail. So it is presumptuous of counsel to ask for a dismissal [at this stage],” Pilgrim submitted.
However, the defence attorney insisted that the prosecutor’s excuse could not be “a ground for keeping people in the system”.
“You cannot develop a cure and then look for the illness,” he argued. “You can’t charge somebody and then go looking for evidence. It offends the evidence of logic . . . .It is also that kind of attitude that contributes to the backlog we have [in the system]. In 2017, that’s not good enough.
“In [this] small society that we have . . . people are saying she is a thief, she has to endure that . . . .That is not good enough.”
Ackie has been on $40,000 bail since the charge was proffered and under the conditions of her release, she must report to the police station twice a week and also had to surrender her passport to the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
Magistrate Frederick ruled that the matter could not be dismissed at this stage, as the file was before the DPP for advice and the court had to be fair to all sides, including the alleged victim whom he said was still interested in the case.
“It came before me in 2016 and since then I think that we have made some progress. I think it is worth the wait because there is a file and . . . . it is with the DPP for instruction. The complainant is still interested in the matter, so we will adjourn to July 20,” Frederick ruled.