Having waited over 14 years without his case being heard, the murder charge hanging over Larry Patrick Agard’s head is ripe for dismissal.
So says his attorney-at-law, Queen’s Counsel Larry Smith who also suggests that the time has come for the Crown to stop trampling on the rights of its citizenry.
Continuing his closing submissions for the second day in the Constitutional motion brought against the Attorney General by his client, Smith called on Justice Cicely Chase to “stop the Crown”.
He maintained that a country was judged by how it treated its most vulnerable citizens.
“I submit that they need to be stopped. If the court does not stop them this kind of maltreatment will continue to be meted out to the citizens of Barbados unabated.
“At some time the fundamental rights and freedoms provisions of the Constitution of Barbados must mean something. They have to mean something. The hallmark of the greatness of a nation is determined by how it treats its most vulnerable, not how it mistreats its most vulnerable but how it treats them,” Smith insisted.
The Queen’s Counsel said due to the extremely long delay in having his matter heard, it would now be impossible for his client to get a fair trial.
He said along with the fact important witnesses had died, the inability to recall accurately what transpired 14 years ago would prejudice his client’s case.
“It is 14 years and Mr Agard hasn’t had a trial yet and has had 23 court appearances not to mention what happened in the preliminary enquiry. So between 2011 and now and over 30 court appearances and not a trial,” Smith submitted.
“But the Crown will want to come and tell you that there is nothing wrong after 14 years of delays, trying a man where witnesses have died, memories have faded… and they will come and tell you that he can still have a fair trial and that the delay does not impact on the fairness…”
Smith accused the Crown of being on a witch-hunt against Agard and said it was only fair that the charge against him be dismissed.
“This case is an overripe Julie mango. If this case is not ripe for this court to order a permanent stay or to dismiss the charge then I can see no instance in this fair land of ours when the court would invoke its jurisdiction to ensure that an accused’s rights when they are breached it means something,” Smith said.
The veteran lawyer also said what was especially embarrassing was the fact that this Constitutional motion had taken even longer to be heard than the first Constitutional motion brought by his client.
Smith explained that after being charged in 2006 with the murder of Marville John, Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius had ruled in 2011 that his rights to a fair trial within a reasonable time had been breached and granted him bail.
He said eight years later and despite that ruling, the Crown still had not afforded Agard a trial.
“That borders on contumelious conduct by the Crown,” Smith said.
The matter has been adjourned until December 1 and 2, when Smith will continue his submissions.
Smith is being assisted by Jamila Smith while lead attorney for the Attorney General, Acting Deputy Solicitor General Roger Barker is being assisted by Senior Crown Counsel Cherisse Whitehall-Small and Nicole Boyce.