Tomorrow will be D-Day for Lieutenant Coast Guard David Harewood.
The senior military officer is expected to know his fate after the defence and prosecution made their closing arguments this afternoon at his court martial at the Barbados Defence Force’s St Ann’s Fort headquarters.
Harewood, whose rank is equivalent to Captain, is charged that he on an unknown date in January 2018, being a commissioned officer in the BDF, having knowledge of a threat to the life of a junior member, neglected to inform his superiors of such a threat.
He also faces the charge that between January 1, 2014 and September 30, 2018, he conducted unauthorised information gathering operations, conduct unbecoming of a commissioned officer in the BDF.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
Harewood originally faced four charges, but had two dismissed after defence counsel Vincent Watson filed a no-case submission last Friday.
Three witnesses took to the stand today; Harewood, retired Major Wendy Yearwood and Captain Adrian Deane.
In his closing arguments, Watson maintained the prosecution had not proven its case and described Harewood as a man of high morals.
“David is a man of integrity and is forthright. The actions that he took showed a sense of duty on a personal and professional level,” his counsel said.
He contended that the only evidence presented by the prosecution was the “unreliable” statements of Major Junior Browne and Warrant Officer Christopher Blenman.
He said in light of this the Tribunal had no choice but to find his client not guilty.
Watson said the accused had not perceived a threat to the life of Ordinary Seaman Marlon Scott and therefore had not passed on that information.
“It was the right exercise of discretion by David, even if it led to the charges being laid by the BDF,” Watson added.
He further pointed out that there was no specific policy by the BDF regarding the collection of and passing on of information.
He said therefore the accused should not be penalized for his actions.
However, prosecutor Lieutenant Jamar Bourne told the Tribunal that he had sufficiently proven his case against Harewood.
He said the prosecution had “proven all elements of both charges for which the accused is before the court beyond a reasonable doubt”.
According to him evidence had been presented which showed unauthorized meetings between the accused and persons of interest had taken place.
Bourne said the accused himself had admitted in a statement that he attended such meetings.
He also pointed to inconsistencies in evidence between the accused and retired Major Wendy Yearwood, a witness who was called by the defence today.
He highlighted that Yearwood gave evidence that she had a meeting with the Harewood in February, 2018, where he gave her certain information.
As a result, Yearwood said she advised him to make a report to the G3 department of the BDF, as well as to the Chief of Staff.
But the prosecutor said this made no sense as the accused had given evidence that after attending the meeting with OS Scott in January, 2018, he made a report to his supervisor the next day.
“Why then would he be seeking advice from Major Yearwood if he had already made a report to a superior,” Bourne questioned.
The prosecutor said the accused’s actions as a commissioned officer of the BDF had brought the organisation into disrepute.
Bourne submitted that the accused had intentionally refused to inform command of a threat to a junior officer.
“As an officer with 18 years’ experience, he should have known his conduct was improper. His actions offend the standards and good reputation of the BDF,” he said.
Earlier, under examination by Watson, the accused said as the then Divisional Operations Officer, he was responsible for over 120 sailors and 15 assets.
He said following a conversation with Ordinary Seaman Terrell Gibbons, he agreed to attend a meeting with Gibbons and another person.
However, he said he did not know what that meeting was about.
He explained that during that meeting which took place at Gloria’s in Baxters Road, he was given some information regarding Ordinary Seaman Marlon Scott.
The accused said while he did not regard the information as a threat to Scott, he passed on that information to Captain Adrian Deane, who was his superior at the time.
When Deane was called as a witness by the Tribunal he said he could not recall any such information being given to him by the accused.
Major Yearwood also testified that there was no clear policy at the BDF as it related to the gathering of information and that it was sometimes left to the discretion of the officer to provide a written report.