Ordinary Seaman, Tyrrel Gibbons, will have a fresh trial, says his attorney.
With two adjournments in as many months and procedural concerns casting a shadow of uncertainty over the court martial of Gibbons, the matter is now said to be back on track.
Since the latest procedural wrangling over the introduction of a Judge Advocate in mid-stream, Gibbons’ attorney, Larry Smith, QC, told Barbados TODAY that the charges against his client were dropped and then subsequently refiled, paving the way for a new trial.
“The court martial has been dissolved and they have filed fresh charges against my client. We haven’t received a new date as yet but the procedural concerns of that court martial have been resolved by its dissolution,” Smith said.
Gibbons is charged with a civil offence contrary to section 71 (1) of the Defence Act by wrongful communicating information contrary to section 2 (1) (a) of the Official Secrets Act, 1911, as amended by the Official Secrets Act, 1920.
Last month, the prosecution, led by Lieutenant Jamar Bourne, made an application for the matter to be handled by a Judge Advocate, due to the technical complexities of the allegations. This was met with strong objection from
defence attorney-at-law, Smith, QC, who explained that while the defence did not have a problem with the appointment of a Judge Advocate, the rules do not allow for one to be introduced with the proceedings already started.
“I haven’t had a chance to respond but I have a challenge with the type of adjournment. A person who is charged with a criminal offence in the civilian system, has a right to know when his or her trial is going to be and when the matter is coming up next for hearing. You cannot have a charge hanging over a person’s head without a date. That is a problem,” said Smith, who noted then that he plans to do some further research before requesting that the court martial convenes to settle this outstanding issue.
This afternoon the seasoned attorney told Barbados TODAY that while it is possible that the new trial could come with its own procedural issues, his concerns stemming from the last trial have been addressed.
“The issue of the matter not having a date has been resolved by the dissolution of that court martial. So, there is no issue of a date in relation to this court martial because it has been dissolved. They have filed fresh charges and we have to wait now for the court date,” said Smith.
He added, “I have to now wait and see if any new procedural matters arise when the new trial starts. As far as those questions are concerned, we would get the answers when the new trial begins.”