Chequan Rashad Austin looked set to begin another 28 days on remand at HMP Dodds Wednesday, after the police prosecutor renewed his objections to bail and gave new reasons why he should not be released.
However, as a result of strong arguments from his lawyer and new information from the lead investigator, the 22-year-old was allowed to go to his Well House, St Michael home.
It is alleged that Austin and his 43-year-old father, Renair Andre Ifill of Grenville Way, Cave Hill, St Michael, along with other persons, used unlawful violence on March 28 and that their conduct was such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.
The two are not required to plead to the indictable charge.
Austin is also separately charged with unlawfully and maliciously wounding Errol Forde on the same date. It is further alleged that he stole a handbag worth $35, a cellular phone worth $150, two lipsticks worth $75, and $150 in cash belonging to Veronica Bouzan on March 9. However, he denied that allegation.
While his father was able to get bail on his first court appearance, Austin was not so fortunate.
When the matter came up before Magistrate Douglas Frederick Wednesday, attorney-at-law Kamisha Benjamin put in another bid for bail. She said that while previous arguments advanced by the prosecutor included that a gun had been used, her client had been charged for wounding and violent behaviour and not a firearm offence.
With a medical form outlining the injuries suffered by the complainant in hand, she argued that the instrument allegedly used in the commission of the offence was a blunt object and not a firearm.
“My client was also injured and spent two days at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital while the complainant was discharged after being treated. My client, for lack of a better word, was unfaired,” Benjamin said.
She argued that the submission that the matter before the court was serious held no weight, since every alleged offence was serious, otherwise it would not be before the court.
The attorney also pointed out that Austin had no prior offences and no other matters pending before any court, and is employed, and as such is a fit and proper candidate for bail.
On the last occasion, prosecutor Station Sergeant Neville Reid said two other people were being sought in connection with the incident for which Austin is charged. Since then, he told the court Wednesday, one had been apprehended and police are still on the hunt for the second.
Reid added that efforts were still being made to recover a firearm that had been used in the incident.
“I understand that counsel is saying that there is no evidence that a firearm was used, but [use of a] firearm does not mean that a person was shot, but the firearm was discharged. He is charged with violent disorderly conduct . . . [which means] he and other persons terrorized the whole district,” Reid contended.
“The violence involved the use of a firearm as well as other [items] which were used as weapons that would cause blunt force trauma that the lawyer is talking about.”
However, Magistrate Frederick, who had expressed concern for Austin’s safety when the young man first appeared before him, again raised that issue.
“Many people argue for bail and then can’t come back,” he pointed out.
However, the prosecutor subsequently got information from an investigator in the case which saw him abandoning his objections to Austin being released on bail.
The accused was then granted a $5,000 release, which he secured with one surety.
He returns to court on September 25.