From the Courts
May 28, 2004

Union Island man on unlawful possession charge

Desmond James of Union Island is expected to reappear before the Serious Crime Court on June 24, this year, to answer a charge of unlawful possession of a quantity of cash.
James was arrested by Customs and Excise officers on May 17 after he was allegedly found in possession of EC$15,000 and Bds$2,000 without lawful explanation. He was reported to have been arrested at the airport, travelling from Union Island to St. Vincent.
When James appeared in court on May 17, hearing was adjourned to May 20. {{more}} However, when the matter was called, police prosecutor Inspector Cuthbert Horne applied for another adjournment, indicating that the prosecution was not in a position to proceed. He said that a Customs and Excise officer involved in the case was not available and a police officer was detached from regular assignment to perform duties for the OECS Heads of Government Conference which was taking place here at the time.
Defence lawyer, Raymond Cadette challenged the prosecutor’s application for another adjournment. He said that the prosecution was dealing with the matter in a manner that was “rather unusual”.
Cadette contended that all the prosecution’s witnesses were available on mainland St. Vincent while his client had to travel back and forth by air from Union Island in the Grenadines each time the case is called. He charged that it was a violation of his client’s constitutional right.
Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman disagreed with Cadette, saying that his client’s constitutional right was not violated. She said the court made every possible effort to expedite the hearing. She noted that James was arrested on Monday 17 May and hearing was set for Thursday 20 May. She concluded that the Prosecutor’s request for another adjournment, given his reasons, was not unreasonable.
However, the Chief Magistrate expressed concern over the fact that James had to travel from the Grenadine island to St. Vincent for the hearing. She said she expected that all witnesses would be in court on June 24 for the start of the matter.