A 21-year-old man has been remanded to prison after appearing in a Bridgetown court charged with an offence in which firearms were allegedly used, along with several traffic offences.
Romono Anthony Drayton of Turtons, Gittens Gap, Government Hill, St Michael was not required to plead to the indictable charge that he, on May 27, together with other persons, used unlawful violence and their conduct taken together was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.
The auto repairman who appeared before Magistrate Graveney Bannister in the District ‘A’ Traffic Court denied that on May 25, knowing or believing that a motorcycle was stolen, dishonestly received the vehicle.
However, he pleaded guilty to driving a motorcycle on My Lord’s Hill Main Road on May 25 with no drivers licence, no registration, no insurance, without due care and attention, and with fraudulent plates.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Theodore McClean told Magistrate Bannister that police responded to a collision between a motorcar and motorcycle along the mentioned road. However, by the time police arrived the motorcyclist had fled the scene with his bike.
On investigation, lawmen discovered the name of the perpetrator. On May 29, Drayton reported to the District ‘A’ Police Station as part of bail conditions imposed on him for a previous charge and while there he was interviewed and admitted to being in the collision.
In submitting Drayton’s conviction card to the magistrate, McClean said that while he had convictions they were not traffic related.
In mitigating on her client’s behalf, attorney Angella Mitchell-Gittens revealed that Drayton had only purchased the motorcycle on the morning on the accident. She explained that he received the brunt of the injuries and it was only out of “fear” that he left the scene but he had redeemed himself by reporting to the police station.
She also said that Drayton and the other person involved in the accident had reached an agreement on the repairs.
“I am very sorry . . . and I am begging for a chance to correct myself,” Drayton told the magistrate, even as he revealed that he was never a holder of a driver’s licence.
He was slapped with a $300 fine for having no licence or an alternative of 30 days in prison, $750 for driving with no insurance or 75 days, $250 for the damage or an alternative of 25 days behind bars, and he was convicted reprimanded and discharged for fraudulent use of number plates and having no registration.
Those fines were to be paid forthwith, but Drayton never got the chance to do so when Sergeant McClean objected to bail on the indictable charge on the grounds that the accused was presently on bail from the High Court on a firearm related offence and had only been released last September.
The prosecutor also stated that investigations were at a delicate stage and police were still seeking two persons in connection with the indictable charge.
“[There are] allegations of firearms [being] used that have not been recovered. The prosecution fears that if granted bail this accused may interfere or impede the investigations,” said McClean who added that there was a need to protect the society.
“This incident occurred during the daylight hours and the complainant was among a group of people when the alleged actions of this accused and his cohorts caused persons to scamper….Persons must be able to gather peacefully without the fear of being pounced upon.”
The prosecutor also pointed to the seriousness of the offence as well as the safety of the accused man, on the basis that there were indications that “there may be some retaliation.”
However, Mitchell-Gittens strongly counted those charges, saying that there was no way a 21-year-old who had been in police custody since Monday could prevent members of the Royal Barbados Police Force from completing their investigations if he was granted bail.
“How can his being granted bail affect this investigation? One person should not be able to affect that,” the defence lawyer stated, adding that her client was a fit and proper candidate for bail as he was already adhering to conditions imposed previously.
“He has already been charged. Why would he have an interest in preventing other persons from being charged? Whatever information the police are going to get from him they have gotten. Is he going to go now and find these other persons and hide them? How can he being on bail, Sir, affect this investigation?” she further questioned.
After taking into consideration the submissions from the prosecution and the defence, Magistrate Bannister ruled that police needed time to complete their investigations in the matter. He also pointed out that the alleged firearms were yet to be recovered and that for those reasons, the accused had to be remanded.
Drayton will appear before the No. 1 District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court, where the case has been transferred, on June 23.