We are inclined to agree with defence attorneys Andrew Pilgrim, QC, and Arthur Holder that last week’s court ruling in the Lord Evil murder case amounts to nothing short of a national disgrace, if only on the grounds that it should not have taken four years for the prosecution – or more specifically the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) – to determine that there was insufficient police evidence on which to proceed with the matter.
It only goes to show that the law is indeed an “ass”., as Charles Dickens wrote in Oliver Twist.
If not, how could it be justifiable for someone to be held on remand for two, three or even four years for a crime they did not commit.
More so someone of the prominence of a Lord Evil, whose name alone is enough to make big men cringe in their pants to the point of soiling their boots, and who is perhaps the most notorious of all criminals born and bred here on this rock since the elusive Winston Hall, now deceased.
One would have thought therefore, that any matter involving him would have been subjected to the most rigorous of legal litmus testing with a view to ensuring that any criminal charge brought against him would have to stick.
But alas! Lord Evil now walks free, with the family of Charlie Dume and indeed the rest of Barbados none the wiser on who actually pulled the trigger, resulting in his most unfortunate and untimely death back in April 26, 2014.
We note that not only Lord Evil but the three other men who were jointly charged with him for Mr Dume’s murder were all surprisingly allowed to go free on Friday because, as Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale told the court last week, “there was not sufficient evidence to sustain the case” against the accused.
The prosecutor also stated that although there were “certain undertones of certain activities”, when combing through the evidence “the case does not rise to the standards” that could be sustained against the accused criminal quartet and neither could a case of “joint enterprise”.
“For that reason the Crown [under the] instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions . . . will not be pursuing any indictment against these [four] accused . . . and asks that the indictment against them be dismissed,” Seale told the court in the presence of the men and their attorneys who were subsequently informed by Justice Randall Worrell that they were free to go.
The sudden and unexpected move no doubt would have come as music to the ears of the accused criminal quartet and their supporters, with their attorneys wasting no time in slamming the local criminal justice – and rightly so – for its blatant, and, we might add, embarrassing level of ineptness.
As Mr Holder pointed out, it would seem as though “the police are charging people for murder without the file being vetted by the DPP”, which is nothing short of “ludicrous”.
“How do you recompense those persons?. . . How can that be justice? When the officer from the DPP presents the file to the court, does the judge read the file to see if there is sufficient evidence to warrant an indictment being proffered against the accused?” the defence attorney also questioned while making it clear that he would be seeking legal redress for his two clients, including Lord Evil, who was made to spend two years on remand before the matter was discharged.
“You cannot give back a person years spent in jail. Something has to be wrong and that is a problem that I have and I am going to pursue assiduously . . . because you have taken away a person’s liberty. What do you say to accused persons? what? You are sorry?
“You have taken away four years or two years out of the prime of [their] lives, away from his family, his loved ones to tell them at the end, you are sorry. Something has to change and I intend to pursue it,” Holder also warned.
Following last Friday’s judgment, similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Pilgrim, who also termed the dismissal after nearly four years as nothing short of “ a disgrace”.
But while the learned QC may want to suggest that it would be “ridiculous” for anyone to say it had anything to do with Lord Evil, we can’t help but ask, why now?
Also, is the police handling of this matter any different to that of any other murder accused, or is this a unique botch job? If not, does this mean that we can expect more such dismissals in the near future?
We also note that the Lord Evil dismissal is perhaps the most seminal decision taken by DPP Donna Babb-Agard since her appointment last December. But given recent public sentiment, we also feel obligated to ask, was his case more urgent for resolution than that involving Felisha Osula Holder, the 33-year-old mother accused of causing the death of her son in a vehicular accident three years ago?
We hope and pray that Ms Holder’s dangerous driving charge will not be allowed to drag on for fours years before it too would have to be thrown out on account of lack of evidence, for that would be nothing short of cruel and inhume punishment meted out by our very own criminal justice system when much better could be done, Madame DPP.