From the Courts
July 29, 2016
Court well within rights to adjourn case for three months – DPP

The prosecution should be commended for limiting to three months, Paul ‘I-Madd’ Scrubb’s wait before he returns to court to answer charges of uttering seditious words and threatening to kill the Prime Minister and his family.{{more}}

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams, in an interview on WE FM on Wednesday, said that by asking for an adjournment of three months, the prosecution is well within the six-month window given by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Scrubb, a Vincentian who has resided in the United States for over 20 years, is facing two charges that he, between December 9 and 31, 2015, uttered seditious words and that he maliciously sent or uttered threats to kill, to wit: “Ralph Gonsalves should be assassinated, also his whole damn family period. Blessed Love.”

When he appeared before the Serious Offences Court on Monday, Scrubb was not allowed to plead, as the offences are indictable. No objections were, however, made to bail, which was granted in the sum of $25,000 with one surety. He is to report to the Calliaqua Police Station twice a week, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Another bail provision is that if he wishes to leave the State, he needs the express permission of the court. Scrubb was ordered to surrender all travel documents and stop notices were placed at all ports.

A preliminary inquiry into the matter was scheduled for October 31, 2016, after the court was told that the investigating officer requested three months to further prepare his case.

The DPP’s comments on the wait time came after Israel Bruce, counsel for Scrubb, questioned why the prosecution needed an additional three months to prepare a case, when the defendant had been in state for over five weeks and the comment for which he was charged was allegedly made since December, 2015. Bruce concluded that the ultimate objective was to scare Scrubb and others.

Williams said in setting a trial date three months away, the matter was given precedence and that is a credit to the prosecution. He said, according to the guidelines provided by the Chief Justice, if a person is not in custody, the case should be tried within six months. The DPP said he is amazed him that a trained attorney would even make those comments publicly.

“That is a very strange comment coming from an attorney or somebody who is qualified and is practising in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

Williams further stated that for the matter to be brought to court sooner, that would mean Scrubb’s case would have to be given precedence over a person who arrested before him.

“A person who was arrested and charged two months ago has a right to have his matter prior to somebody who was arrested subsequently. You are within the guidelines,” Williams noted.

The DPP also stated that SVG has done well, compared to other OECS jurisdictions, in following the Chief Justice’s guidelines.

“As a matter of fact, matters are heard more swiftly in St Vincent and the Grenadines than in any other OECS territory, in terms of observing the length of time between arrest and charge and the date of the trial.”(CM)