by Randy Bennett
The fact that Larry Patrick Agard could not be found by the Court for over four years was the fault of the Crown and not his own.
That argument was put forward by Agard’s attorney, Queens Counsel Larry Smith, as he began his final submissions today in the Constitutional motion brought against the Attorney General by his client.
Agard is contending that pursuant to Section 18 (1) of the Constitution, his rights to a fair trial within a reasonable time have been breached and that the delay in the matter is such that to have the trial at this stage would be prejudiced in mounting his defence and therefore unfair.
He has been charged with the 2006 murder of Marville John.
Smith told Justice Cicely Chase, who is hearing the matter, that while the Crown had suggested Agard’s lengthy disappearance had contributed to the delay in the matter that was not the case.
Smith said neither the Crown nor its witnesses provided any evidence regarding the issue of Agard’s address.
He argued that despite his client giving his address as Lot 7, Stone Ridge Avenue, Appleby Gardens, St James, after he was granted bail in 2011, authorities still tried to serve him at Olton Road, St Michael.
The QC admitted that while Olton Road was his client’s address in 2006 when he was arrested, during his time of incarceration the property had been demolished.
“So after Mr Agard gets bail on August 4, 2011, the Crown says that they couldn’t find him at Olton Road . . . So what is the sense in trying to find Mr Agard on an open lot of land where there is no shelter?” Smith queried.
“That seems like a reasonable answer to give the court? We couldn’t find him because he was missing. He dropped off the face of Barbados.
“This court ought not to accept that and we have indicated why the evidence does not support that.”
Agard further pointed out that there was no evidence to suggest that Agard’s surety had been contacted regarding his whereabouts.
“They didn’t call the surety, the court didn’t ask to bring the surety and neither did the prosecutor ask to bring any sureties either for this so called missing man,” Smith added.
The attorney-at-law said in the evidence presented, Agard said once he became aware that the court was looking for him he presented himself.
“The allegation that he was missing cannot be supported in evidence…The responsibility for those four and a half years must lie with the Crown based on the evidence in this matter,” Smith maintained.
He said from the time his client was granted bail to the time he reported to court in 2015 amounted to nine and a half years of delay at the feet of the Crown.
Smith said the Crown was also contending that Agard had contributed to the delay in asking for time to be given an opportunity to come up with the money to pay his legal representative at the time Ajamu Boardi.
However, he said this was only the case because Boardi had opted not to represent Agard through the Legal Aid Scheme
because of slow payment.
Smith insisted that his client could not be blamed because of the failings of the Scheme.
“Is it unreasonable for an accused man on a capital charge where Legal Aid is not paying, to get an opportunity to get some money together to pay his lawyer?” he questioned.
Smith said the other alternative would have been for a lawyer from the Legal Aid be sourced to assist Agard, which would have also resulted in a delay due to the need for that lawyer to “get up to speed” with the case.
“The slowing down of the payments at the Legal Aid, which is an institutional issue, which has to lie at the feet of the Crown, is what caused Mr Agard to try to get the money.
“So Mr Agard did not come up with this on his own, it was because of the failings of the Legal Aid Scheme at that time that Mr Agard therefore had to seek an alternative to that which he otherwise would undertake,” Smith pointed out.
Lead attorney for the Attorney General is Acting Deputy Solicitor General Roger Barker and he is being assisted bySenior Crown Counsel Cherisse Whitehall-Small and Nicole Boyce.
Submissions continue tomorrow morning.