Defence attorney Andrew Pilgrim, QC, has taken issue with what he says are police officers remaining on active duty despite having criminal charges pending against them.
He raised the concern, as one of three police officers was noticeably absent from the dock when a private prosecution case against them continued in the No. 2 District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court today.
Police constables 1958 Bradley Cutting, 1890 Justin Phillips and 2099 Akeel Grant, have been accused of assault, occasioning actual bodily harm to Dario Rico Stanton of Hart’s Gap, Christ Church and Romario Mitchell Quintyne of 122 Cordia Drive, Warners Park, Christ Church. The offence is said to have occurred on June 18, 2017 during an event at Pirate’s Cove.
Attorney-at-law Wendy Maraj, representing Grant who was not in the dock today, explained that it was her understanding that her client was absent because “he was in the field on duty this morning.”
“I apologise for his absence, my hands are tied with respect to how much further information I do have. I do know that everything was on track for him to be here
. . . he is always here, this is the first time he has been absent,” Maraj explained.
Pilgrim responded saying, “These are accused men, I don’t know if an accused man can come to the court and say or send someone to tell you they are in the field.
“I don’t know what field, but they should not be even working in the Royal Barbados Police force with criminal charges pending before them,” Pilgrim said adding, “Having said that, we are in a position where we promote people who are facing criminal charges before the court.”
Without calling names the Queen’s Counsel claimed that there was an officer who had been “promoted twice” while under a charge of this nature.
“Having said all of that his [Grant’s] obligation is to turn up like everybody else. I don’t want anything more special once he comes by the end of the day, I don’t have any problem but if he doesn’t, I am making an application for a warrant to be issued for his arrest because we can’t be seen to be treating people one way one day and a next way the other day,” Pilgrim argued.
However, Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant said it was not her practice to issue a warrant of arrest for an accused on the first non-appearance. She explained that sometimes those persons come later in the day or sometimes send in a sick certificate.
“So I try to give everybody a fair chance and opportunity,” the magistrate stated as she gave Grant until the end of the week to present himself to the court.
Meanwhile, a separate case in which Stanton and Quintyne are charged with assaulting Phillips, occasioning him actual body harm, as well as obstructing that officer in the execution of his duties, and assaulting Grant with intent to prevent the officer from lawfully apprehending him was also called today. Quintyne is further alleged of failing to obey a lawful order to keep moving given by Cutting, resisting the officer in the execution of his duties and using abusive language. Those charges are said to have occurred on June 18.
Magistrate Cuffy-Sargeant gave a final adjournment in the two-year-old case following an application by Pilgrim after the prosecutor stated that he was not in a position to serve disclosure at this time even though he had site of the file.
The counter cases will continue on March 10, 2020.