DPP appeals Chief Magistrate’s ruling in police friendly fire case
From the Courts
November 12, 2013
DPP appeals Chief Magistrate’s ruling in police friendly fire case

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams says that he intends to appeal the decision of Chief Magistrate Sonya Young to dismiss charges brought against Sergeant Julius Morgan and Constable Orlando Collins, in a matter in which another police officer was shot.{{more}}

“The magistrate erred in fact and in law,” Williams said, adding that that was the only ground that had been advanced so far in launching the appeal.

“We think that the magistrate erred in law – that is the feeling.”

And that is what he said he will be going to court to appeal.

“I will argue it; the court might or might not agree, but c’est la vie,” he said.

He explained that during the half-way stage of the trial, the chief magistrate agreed that there was a case for the accused officers to answer. Williams said the accused then presented another version of what had happened, saying that they were acting in self-defense.

He, however, reasoned that it is possible for the magistrate to believe what the men said, but that would be “an outrageous leap”, because according to Williams, how does one explain that the officer was shot in the back?

“It’s a simple point you know. I don’t know if the court will buy it,” Williams said.

He said this is was why he is of the opinion that the chief magistrate erred in fact and in law.

The case brought against Morgan and Collins was dismissed on October 25, when Chief Magistrate Young told the officers that they were free to go.

Both men have been on trial since March 25, 2013, charged with unlawful and malicious wounding, unlawful discharging of a firearm, excessive use of force, acting in a manner so rash or so negligent as to be likely to cause harm to a person and conspiracy to defeat the course of justice.

The charges stemmed from a shooting incident at Rose Place, Kingstown, on December 5, 2012, that left Corporal Milford Edwards, a member of the Narcotics Unit (Drug Squad) with an injured shoulder.

According to reports on that day, police received an anonymous tip that a drug operation was being carried out on the beach at Rose Place, popularly known as Bottom Town. Members of different police units turned up, not knowing that other units had responded. (DD)