From the Courts
September 27, 2016
DPP appeals ruling in favour of cop

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last Friday filed an appeal in the matter in which Police Constable Orthwel ‘OB’ John was acquitted of charges of wounding and unlawful discharge of a firearm.{{more}}

John, who was suspended on half pay on December 29, 2015 was charged that on June 22, 2015, he wounded Kevin Neil of Peniston and unlawfully discharged his firearm at Neil on that same date, contrary to Section 185 and section 174 of chapter 171/09 of the criminal code.

However, following numerous adjournments and testimonies by more than eight witnesses, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias ruled that there were too many inconsistencies before the court and discharged John last Thursday.

Prosecutor Carl Williams openly disagreed with the Chief Magistrate’s decision and in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, he confirmed that an appeal was filed the following day.

“We’re not satisfied with the decision of the magistrate in the face of all that evidence,” said Williams.

He added that the witnesses for the Crown testified that there was an allegation where John was held in a neck lock by Neil and minutes after Neil released him, he was shot shot by John.

However, in his evidence last Thursday, John testified that he shot Neil during and not after the altercation, because he feared for his life.

Also, Chris Walsh, a welder of Vermont, whose police report originally supported Neil’s version of the story, backed John’s story in court last week.

When he took the stand, Walsh claimed that Neil had bribed him, telling him that he (Neil) would win EC$100,000 from the case, some of which he would pay to him if he gave police a statement in his favour.

When questioned by Williams, Walsh told the court he changed his evidence because he wanted to speak the truth.

However, yesterday, Williams was adamant that Walsh was not a credible witness.

The prosecutor stated that Neil was hospitalized at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) for two days, during which time he had no contact with Walsh and evidence shows that Walsh gave his report to police on day before Neil was released.

Williams, however, stated that he is confident the court would overturn the decision made by the Chief Magistrate and noted that the Court of Appeal is expected to sit in SVG in May next year. (AS)