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In the Magistrate’s Court – April/May

FLASHBACK Marijuana Cultivation in the Barzeys area

Towards the end of April and through early May from April 24, 2017 the Magistrate’s Court was busy as Chief Magistrate Lakmal Wickramasooriya, who was nearing the end of his appointment in Montserrat, disposed of several charges, sufficiency and bail hearings on varying matters.

On April 24, 2017, the Chief Magistrate adjudicated two matters involving Elvis Bradshaw of Salem and Kamron Kirwan of Davy Hill; also, involving Rhakeem Weekes of Look Out.

Both Elvis and Kamron appeared before the Magistrate on a charge of theft of three goats valued at $900. Both pleaded guilty resulting in a sentenced of both to four months imprisonment. Additionally, both men who were represented by defense counsel David  S. Brandt were fined compensation in the sum of $400.00 each to be paid in five (5) months. Failure to pay, they will serve two (2) months imprisonment. unrep

On the same day unrepresented Rhakeem Weekes appeared on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. Upon request by Director of Public Prosecution Oris Sullivan that the matter be set for sufficiency hearing, the Magistrate referred the matter to the High Court for hearing on June 30, 2017.

According to the police release, on April 25, 2017 Vaughn Fenton of Peaceful Cottage appeared before the Chief Magistrate on several charges to include a charge of aggravated assault on a male child which was subsequently changed to Common Assault, indecent language, threatening language, insulting language and Assault. Fenton was represented by Brandt.

Fenton subsequently plead guilty to the charge of common assault and the Magistrate ruled under section 3 of the Probation Act and imposed a Bond on Fenton for three (3) years to be of good behavior, in his own recognizance in the sum of $5,000.00. In relation to the other charges Senior Crown Counsel Kenroy Hyman offered no evidence in relation to the other matters hence the mattes were dismissed.

On April 27, 2017 Shill Blaize of Friths Salem represented by Attorney-at-Law Fitzroy Buffonge appeared before the Chief Magistrate on a charge of indecent assault. Upon presentation by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oris Sullivan appearing on behalf of the prosecution the Magistrate referred this matter to the High Court for Sufficiency Hearing on the June 30, 2017.   

Same day in the magistrate courts, Charles Liburd of Look Out also appeared before the Chief Magistrate on several charges to include being armed with an offensive weapon, indecent language, being in possession of cannabis sativa with intent to supply to another and being in possession of cannabis sativa.

According to the police report, following presentation of a psychiatric evaluation of Liburd who was unrepresented by counsel, the DPP offered no evidence hence the mattes were dismissed.

A male juvenile the following day, appeared before Chief Magistrate Wickramasooriya on a charge of theft. Ruled guilty, the Magistrate ruled under Section 9 (1) (d) of the Juvenile Act and Section 3 of the Probation Act that the male juvenile be entered into a bond of good behavior for three years with one surety.

On the same day Frantz Germaine of Davy Hill appeared unrepresented in the magistrate’s court on several charges to include assault, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Germaine pleaded guilty to the assault charge and the Magistrate acting under Section 30 of the Penal code, caused Germaine to enter into a bond of good behavior in his own recognizance in the sum of $3,000.00 for a period of one (1) year. Crown Counsel Kenroy Hyman consequently offered no evidence in relation to the other charges.

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drugs vessels

US Coast Guard offloads US$1.2 million worth of marijuana seized in Caribbean Sea

ST. CROIX, US Virgin Islands, May 20, CMC – The United States Coast Guard says it has offloaded  573 pounds of marijuana, worth US$1.2 million, that was seized in the Caribbean Sea.

On Friday, the Coast Guard said that the drug – offloaded in the US Virgin Islands, follows a recent at sea interdiction off the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

drugs vesselsSeven suspected smugglers, all Venezuelan nationals, have been turned over to the US Department of Justice for potential prosecution by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands, the Coast Guard said.

It said the interdiction was the result of ongoing, multi-agency and international law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard.

During the afternoon of May 8, the US Coast Guard said a suspicious go-fast vessel was detected off Martinique by a maritime patrol aircraft, flying in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South.

The Coast Guard says the go-fast boat was interdicted and the seven men on board detained.

Multiple bales of contraband were also seized and they all tested positive for marijuana.

“Thanks to the interagency cooperation and strong regional partnerships we succeeded in stopping this illegal drug smuggling venture and bringing seven suspected smugglers to justice,” said Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Sector San Juan chief of response.

The US Coast Guard said the contraband offloaded in the US Virgin Islands was placed in the custody of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) special agents in St. Croix for processing and disposition.

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Court

Six including opposition legislators charged in multi-million dollar fraud

 
 GEORGETOWN, Guyana, May 19, CMC. -Six persons including two opposition legislators and a former deputy Permanent Secretary were charged on Friday in connection with a multi-million dollar fraud at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), dating back to 2011.

The six, all former GRDB board members were slapped with a fines totalling GUY$400 million, they were also ordered to surrender their passports.

CourtThe court was told that the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) legislators Dharamkumar Seeraj and Nigel Dharamlall along with GRDB head Ricky Ramraj, former General Manager Jagnarine Singh, former GRDB board member Badrie Persaud and Former Ministry of Agriculture Deputy Permanent Secretary, Prema Roopnarine,conspired to omit entering different sums of money into a ledger .

Dharamlall was only charged in relation to the 2011 and 2012 omission while the others were slapped with all five charges.

The  six were charged following investigations that were prompted by the findings of a forensic audit.

All  of the Attorneys asked that their clients be released either on their own recognizance or reasonable bail as the prosecution requested more time for the filing of statements.

Defense Anil Nandlall argued that the charges do not relate to any missing money but rather to an omission to make an entry into a ledger.

He said that is largely a clerical function and the Board Members should not be held responsible for it adding that the error is miniscule and that the Auditor General, a Chartered Accountant and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament did not raise any red flags.

Nandlall also questioned why from a Board of 15 members, only six were identified to be charged.

The matter has been adjourned until June 22 .

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Pirate attack

Boat captain feared dead following pirate attack

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana , May 17, CMC – A boat captain is feared dead following an alleged attack by two masked pirates along the Corentyne River on Tuesday.

Pirate attackThe police report that Mahadeo Ramdyal, 44, also known as Chico was in the boat with two crew members when they were attacked by pirates.

The police believe that Ramdyal drowned as one of the attackers hit him on the head as he jumped overboard.

“The crew members managed to win to a vessel anchored some 100 meters from the shore,” the police said.

The pirates who are still at large reportedly stole the catch from the vessel as well as the engine that was attached to the boat.

The Corentyne River runs along the Guyana/Suriname border .

 

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COURT

Privy council dismisses case of murder convict

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 17, CMC – The UK based Privy Council has dismissed an appeal from a man who was convicted of the 2007 murder of his estranged wife.

Earlier this year Warrington Phillip approached the privy council after he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Shermell Williams Phillip.

COURTPhillip was convicted of the brutal stabbing death of his estranged wife in a Nevis court in 2008 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Phillip had previously made two  appeals to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Appeal Court, both of which were dismissed.

His application to the Privy Council was his last resort to appeal his conviction.

Both Director of Public Prosecutions for St. Kitts and Nevis Valston Graham and Prosecutor Dane Hamilton QC , represented the Crown in the UK.

The case was heard in London in January but the judgment was handed down Wednesday with the conclusion being –  “For all the foregoing reasons, the Board will humbly advise Her Majesty that this appeal should be dismissed.”

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arrests

CRIME-Dramatic jump in arrest of Caribbean immigrants across the US

 WASHINGTON, May 18, CMC – The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says in the 100 days since US President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Orders (EOs) regarding immigration enforcement priorities, immigration agents have arrested more than 41,000 Caribbean and other immigrants who are either known or suspected of being in the US illegally.

On Wednesday, ICE said this reflects an increase of 37.6 per cent over the same period in 2016.

arrestsBetween January 22 and April 29, ICE said its Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers administratively arrested 41,318 individuals on civil immigration charges.

Between January 24 and April 30, 2016, ERO arrested 30,028.

“These statistics reflect President Trump’s commitment to enforce our immigration laws fairly and across the board,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security, which has resulted in a substantial increase in the arrest of convicted criminal aliens [immigrants].

“However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law,” he added. “As the data demonstrates, ICE continues to execute our mission professionally and in accordance with the law, and our communities will be much safer for it.”

ICE said nearly 75 per cent of those arrested during this period in 2017 are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.

The arrest of immigrants at-large in the community increased by more than 50 per cent, from 8,381 last year to 12,766 arrests this year during the same period, ICE said.

It said the arrest of convicted criminal immigrants climbed nearly 20 percent, from 25,786 last year to 30,473 this year, adding that violent crimes, such as homicide, rape, kidnapping and assault accounted for more than 2,700 convictions.

In total, since Trump signed the EROs, ICE said its immigration enforcement activity has resulted in more than 400 arrests per day, “including the capture of egregious and violent offenders.”

While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, ICE said Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the US illegally.

ICE said this is evident by the rise in non-criminal arrests over the same period, which increased from about 4,200 in 2016 to more than 10,800 in 2017.

“All of those arrested will receive the due process afforded to them under the law,” Homan said. “ICE will take action to remove individuals subject to a final order by a federal immigration judge.

“We are a nation of laws, and ignoring orders issued by federal judges undermines our constitutional government,” he added.

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West

Andre West arrested on charges of allegations of deception on the job

Fire Chief Andre West

In June last year authoritative sources were unwilling to disclose or confirm the reasons why Mr. Andre West of Barzey’s had been relieved of his duties as Fire Chief at the Royal Montserrat Police and Fire Services where he was also in charge of Search and Rescue Services.

Up to April last, with West not yet having returned to his duties, still, no one wanted to be quoted but confirmed that investigations were ongoing into allegations of activities conducted by West surrounding his duties. Eventually just under two weeks ago TMR learnt of charges and arrest being made in the matter, not published since for two weeks adequate resources have prevented the publication of the newspaper.

Now amidst questions of procedural correctness, the police on Tuesday, May 9 confirm magistrate court hearings that Andre West appeared before Chief Magistrate Lakmal Wickramasooriya, on several charges for allegedly using his position to illegally obtain services, to include obtaining services by deception and two counts of Evasion of liability by deception. West plead not guilty, and as such the matter is adjourned to September 4, 2017.”

According to one report, under the penal code of Montserrat a person who by any deception dishonestly obtains property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for ten years. A ZJB report had stated part of the offences is regarding Customs duty and shipping cost on items coming from the United Kingdom.

 Sources has said that West has opted to have his charges heard summarily in the Magistrate’s Court.

Fire Chief Andre West. The investigation into the suspected wrong doing began in June 2015 and resulted in West being charged with several offences in the Magistrates Court last Tuesday. Among the offences was obtaining services by deception and two counts of evasion of liability by deception. ZJB News understands that the offence of evasion of liability by deception is regarding Customs duty and shipping cost on items coming from the United Kingdom. West will appear before the court again in September, was appointed Chief of the Montserrat Fire & Rescue Service in 2014 he was reportedly sent on leave last year to allow for a full investigation into the allegations.

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shot up car in nevis

Woman killed in Nevis shooting incident – another injured

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Apr. 17, CMC– A woman was killed and another injured early Monday in a shooting incident in the community of Cotton Ground.

shot up car in nevisA police source who confirmed the incident said the women were reportedly heading home from a bingo game, shortly before 4:00 am (local time) when the car they were in was attacked.

They were taken to the Alexandra Hospital where one of the women- Morella Webbe, 28, died from her injures. The other woman, Sonia Grant, 34, was admitted.

As investigations continue, it is not known how many persons were involved in what is believed to be an attempted robbery.

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Image result for montserrat port authority

Port worker sentenced to prison on customs charges

Image result for montserrat port authorityKeston Riley pleaded guilty to a charge of fraudulent evasion of customs duty charged with two others. Riley’s sentencing was postponed pending character reports, pending sentencing which was due to take place on March 31.

The Montserrat Port Authority, now potential former employee to his surprise was given a two-month prison sentence for illegally removing car tires from the port’s warehouse last year. Justice Iain Morley in imposing the sentence, after he had sentenced one other who pleaded guilty in the same matter to a fine of $3,000.00, reportedly said that Riley must serve at least two thirds of his sentence before any release from jail. A third person also charged with for a similar offence in the same matter had the charge against him dropped.

Riley is said to have quietly expressed unease about his sentence. It is believed although his Attorney David S Brandt has not so indicated Riley may be considering the move that an Appeal might be in his favour, in that several other counts of the same charge had been dropped prior to his guilty plea.

The young Montserratian man has found sympathy with persons in the community regarding the prison sentence which had been early hinted by the judge because he is mainly responsible for an infant and a sick mother.

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Court

Police officer freed of murdering pregnant woman

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 4, CMC – A police corporal has been freed of murdering a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was shot and killed during an attempt to arrest here for using obscene language in  September 2012.

The incident had sparked two days of protests in the vicinity of the Yallahs Police Station, a suburban parish in the southeasten section of the island,  where the shooting occurred on September 1.

CourtThe seven-member jury late Monday acquitted Dwayne Smart of the murder and manslaughter in the death of Kay-Ann Lamont, who was eight months pregnant at the time, He was also found not guilty of wounding with intent in the shooting of Lamont’s sister.

The prosecution had alleged that Lamont was being taken into custody for using expletives when she was shot in the head by Smart. There was also evidence, during the four-week trial that her sister was shot while rushing to her defence.

However, Smart, through his attorney, argued that the killing was an accident. He also contended that he was facing a hostile mob opposed to his decision to arrest Lamont. He said that during his attempt to arrest her, a scuffle ensued and they both fell to the ground. Smart said that he tripped and his firearm accidentally went off as he attempted to get back on his feet.

Lamont’s sister, Shemean Lamont, who testified that she witnessed the shooting, said “I don’t understand how this man can shoot a pregnant lady and get away with everything.

“This is not right, this is not true. Right now I don’t think I can explain this,” she told reporters.

Attorney Dorothy Lightbourne, QC, said that the family has filed a civil suit against the State for negligence.

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