From the Courts
September 6, 2016
Lawyers call for dismissal of case pending for nine months

Two outspoken lawyers here have strongly argued that a nine-month long drug case, involving a national of Trinidad and Tobago and a Vincentian man, be dropped.{{more}}

Junior Gomez, a Trinidadian farmer in his late 20s and 41-year-old Gabrielle Hutchins, a chef from Bequia, were charged on November 8, 2015 with possession of 10,892 grams of cocaine, with intent to supply.

Yesterday, at the Serious Offences Court, lawyers Israel Bruce, who represents Gomez and Grant Connell, Hutchins’ advocate, based their arguments around the fact that the case has seen a number of adjournments.

Bruce argued that Gomez has been in custody for nine months, with September 16 this year being the three-month mark since his client was re-charged. The lawyer also said that because of the charge, Gomez has been prevented from seeing his family in Trinidad.

“Justice must be not only be done, but must be seen to be done,” Bruce asserted. He said that the police officers’ attempts at delinquency should not control the court.

After the prosecution asked for yet another adjournment, both Bruce and Connell asked that the matter be dismissed.

Connell argued that Hutchins, a former chef at Mustique, had been fired because of the charge and is now unable to properly provide for his family. He also pointed out that none of the exhibits were before the court, as if the officers felt the Chief Magistrate would adjourn the case.

However, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias granted the prosecution one final adjournment. She said she does not wish the matter to be prolonged, but the offence is a serious one.

When Gomez and Hutchins were charged on November 8, 2015, they pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply to another; possession of a controlled drug for the purpose of drug trafficking; importing a controlled drug for the purpose of drug trafficking; and conspiring with each other between November 1 and 7 to commit the offence of drug trafficking at Port Elizabeth, Bequia, on Friday, November 6, 2015.

On November 9, 2015, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche objected to granting bail to the Trinidadian farmer, stating that he has no ties to this jurisdiction and is a flight risk.

He, however, did not object to Hutchins’ bail, but asked that he surrender his travel documents and report to the police station in his district.

Gomez’s then lawyer Stephen Williams suggested that the court open bail to his client and that they seize his travel documents. However, Browne-Matthias agreed with the prosecution and denied Gomez bail.

Browne-Matthias, however, assured the court that the matter would be dealt with expeditiously and further remanded Gomez until his next court date.

The men are expected to reappear before the court tomorrow. (AS)