Acting Magistrate Sandra Rawlins has remanded two Bayville, St Michael men to prison for the next 28 days, despite strong arguments from Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim against their incarceration.
Twenty-four-year-old Niko Tristan Forde of #27 Lukes Avenue, and 20-year-old Dario Delisle Flatts of Block I, #2 Field Place are accused of entering the home of Lennox Richards as trespassers on September 8 and stealing $300 from the homeowner. A firearm is alleged to have been used in the commission of the offence.
“The firearm has not been recovered,” Station Sergeant Carson Henry told the magistrate in his application against bail, as he also revealed the two men were already on bail from the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
However, Pilgrim, who is Forde’s legal counsel, said the seriousness of the offence was not sufficient reason for remanding the young men.
“In the context of justice in Barbados, you cannot get a trial in five years . . . . Justice ought not to sit and wait while the Crown prepares a file and gets the matter ready to see if they are going to be proven to be innocent or guilty,” he said, adding that if the prosecutor’s request was granted, it would show the court intended to allow the men to be “deprived of their liberty” for as long as five years.
Pilgrim, who has been practising law for the past 25 years, noted that he had clients who were on bail for as long as seven years and there were others who were remanded for as long as eight years awaiting trial.
He said it was also his understanding that there were more than 1,500 cases pending in the Supreme Court for different matters which were being heard by two judges.
“One of those judges has not done 15 trials . . . so let us do the maths. Let us calculate what that means in terms of the delivery of justice. The other court is better but is not far better,” Pilgrim said.
He said even if an accused wanted to plead guilty and his case was fast tracked, it took some nine months to get a sentence.
Pilgrim also contended that the argument about whether or not a firearm had been recovered did not advance the position against granting bail.
“My understanding is that the complainant in this matter, who may or may not be able to identify his assailants, is saying that he saw something silver in the hand of one of the men,” he said, adding that “hardly convinces” anybody that a gun would be recovered in the near future “or ever”.
However, the acting magistrate said her concern stemmed from the fact that the accused were again before the court while on bail on pending matters.
“I am not going to grant them bail at this time. Remanded until October 9,” she said.