From the Courts
October 18, 2016
Tardy police work further delays case against St Lucians

Two St Lucian nationals who have been in police custody since January, will spend another month behind bars because police officers failed to present their case file at the Serious Offences Court yesterday.{{more}}

The men, Damian Cherubin and Bobby Sealey, are charged with having in their possession 54,934 grams of cannabis, conspiracy to commit the offence of drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit the offence of attempt to export on January 29, 2016.

When the duo appeared before the court yesterday, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche stated that the investigating officer is out of State on vacation and his fellow officers at the drug squad are unaware when he would return.

However, the exhibitions and witnesses showed up to court.

Counsel to the St Lucians, Israel Bruce, then reminded the court that his clients have been in police custody for almost 10 months and are entitled to protection under the Constitution. Bruce said his clients are innocent until proven guilty and until officers of the Crown realize that the court would not wait until they are finished “dragging their feet,” the delays would continue.

He recalled that at the opening of the 2016 law term, Janice Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), said such delays are prohibiting access to justice.

Apparently annoyed, Bruce also said a message should be sent that the court is a place of seriousness and that the officer’s behaviour is a poor reflection on the court.

“I advise this honourable court to do the honourable thing,” said Bruce, who asked that the matter be dismissed.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias agreed that the men are innocent until proven guilty; however, the offence which brought them before the court is serious and could not be discounted.

She stated that she would give the prosecution time to prepare the case file and adjourned the matter to November 16, 2016.

Upon entering the police transport after the Chief Magistrate’s decision yesterday, Sealey remarked that he and his fellow St Lucian are being treated unfairly because they are non-nationals. He told SEARCHLIGHT that he is not guilty of the offence and the fact that they are being kept in police custody is unfair to both of them. (AS)