Three men, one of whom allegedly threatened the life of a police officer, have been remanded to Dodds prison for the next 28 days.
Jefferson Antonio O’Bryan Bishop, a 44-year-old chef; Akil Zabar Clement, a 30-year-old steelbender; and 22-year-old landscaper Akobe Asiah Ishmael Aymes, all of No. 60 Denton Road, Grazettes, St Michael, appeared before Magistrate Alison Burke on Wednesday in relation to offences allegedly committed on September 19, 2023.
Bishop is charged with assaulting and resisting Police Constable Ian Chase in the execution of his duties. It is further alleged that he threatened Chase when he uttered the words, “You want to pull a gun, I gine see you off duty and kill you”, which caused the officer to believe that immediate and unlawful violence would be used against him. The accused is also facing a charge of cannabis possession.
Clement, meanwhile, is accused of assaulting and resisting Chase as well as assaulting fellow officer Rhea Carter as she executed her duties; while Aymes is charged with assaulting Constable Carter, also in the execution of her duties.
The three accused pleaded not guilty to their individual charges which allegedly stemmed from an incident which was captured on video and made the rounds on social media.
Constable Ralph Rollock vehemently objected to the three men being granted bail on several grounds, including the nature and seriousness of the offences.
“It has become clear now that persons believe that policing is a joke. Every time police go to work, everybody has issues. I am saying the nature of the offence and the seriousness of it; it may look frivolous but these are extremely serious matters.
“On a regular basis, the police are working and everybody is ready to obstruct and assault. These are serious matters . . . especially on Mr Bishop’s part to have allegedly made a threat to a police officer that if he is off duty, he will kill him. Ma’am, we have to protect our police officers. These are serious matters the court has to frown on, [and] send a message that his kind of disrespectful and despicable behaviour cannot be accepted in society.
“Police officers do their work and have to be subjected to the indifference of persons with threats to kill them while they are off duty. No, we can’t have it,” the prosecutor submitted.
He also pointed to the strength of the evidence, saying that it was making the rounds on social media and was also captured on CCTV footage.
“We have to frown on this type of behaviour. Let it be a deterrent to others who have a desire to do the same thing when the police are working to have persons interfering with what they are doing. I strongly, I vehemently, strenuously object to the accused being granted bail,” said Constable Rollock.
He added that there was a serious concern that the accused “may do the same thing again” if granted bail at this time, even as he conceded that the accused were not known to the court.
“. . . But the court must send a message, a deterrent message, that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. It will not be accepted in Barbados,” he insisted.
In his application for bail for the trio, attorney-at-law Simon Clarke, who represented the accused along with Michael Lashley SC and Ken Mason, urged the magistrate to reject the prosecution’s objections.
He charged that the main principle of bail was whether an accused would turn up for court when required to do so, and the prosecutor did not express any such concern regarding his clients. He said that the accused, all fathers, had no prior convictions, were gainfully employed and had a fixed place abode.
Clarke also pointed out that if convicted, the accused were more likely to get a fine than incarceration, given that they are not known.
The defence attorney also argued that Rollock had not put forward any evidence that would show his clients would interfere with witnesses if granted bail. He said the argument about the strength of the evidence should also be rejected as the defence had received no disclosure in the matter, nor have police provided them with CDs of the alleged CCTV footage.
In urging the magistrate to exercise its discretion in favour of the accused, Clarke further argued that the court could impose strict bail conditions to allay any concerns it may have. He said his clients were willing to adhere to such conditions, including reporting to a police station and a curfew.
The application for bail was denied and the accused were remanded until October 18, 2023.