Four women screamed for joy this afternoon after a magistrate dismissed their case for want of prosecution.
Attorneys-at-law Danielle Mottley, Safia Moore and Talal Nouneh successfully argued for a two-year-old case against their clients to be dismissed when the prosecution failed to provide a file after an almost two-hour wait in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
Janae Khalicia Greaves, of Hackleton’s Cliff, Malvern, St Joseph; Gianni Naomi Harewood of Dodds Land, Church Village, St Philip and Shanika Shaquana Mottley of Chapel Land #6, St Philip, all of whom were 16 years at the time of the incident and Reanna De’shonte Ifill of St David’s Village, Christ Church, who was 17, all screamed in delight when Magistrate Douglas Frederick told them they were free to go.
The four had been charged with assaulting Kiahra Amor Small-Warner occasioning her actual bodily harm on November 15, 2016.
When the matter was called, prosecutor Station Sergeant Carrison Henry asked the court for an adjournment, saying that he was waiting for the file to be delivered by another officer. However, Moore, who represented Harewood, told the magistrate the prosecutor had made a similar request on their previous appearance on October 18, 2018.
She said they had come prepared to begin the trial today and asked for the matter to be dismissed for want of prosecution.
Noumeh, who appeared on behalf of Ifill, also took issue with the prosecutor’s stance, saying his client was now 19 years old and too asked for the case to be dismissed.
Mottley also rose to her feet, saying that the time given to the prosecutor was more than enough for them to produce a file for such a simple matter.
In agreeing with the lawyers, the magistrate told the prosecutor he could not continue to say he was waiting on a file.
“The lawyers came prepared to start trial. They set aside everything to be here. They came and no clerk was here and they waited to do business today and you are saying that a sergeant has the file?” Frederick asked him.
“He can’t say he is coming and have three attorneys sitting down waiting. You have to give a better answer than ‘an officer has the file’. That can’t be a reasonable answer. You have a responsibility to say more. Their argument is strong and your response is weak,” the magistrate added.
The prosecutor then asked for a final adjournment to be given, but that did not go down well with either the magistrate or the lawyers.
“Call the officer because he has put you in an embarrassing situation and you have placed me in an embarrassing situation,” Frederick told Henry. “You are a station sergeant, they can’t treat you like this.”
But after waiting close to two hours for the sergeant to deliver the file from Hastings Police Station, the magistrate dismissed the matter, much to the relief of the young women.