THE FORMER POLICE CONSTABLE charged multiple times over in relation to missing firearms and ammunition from the armoury of the Georgetown Police Station, was denied bail for another week.
Former PC and 25-yearold New Grounds resident Zackrie Latham, as well as his co-accused 26-yearold labourer of Diamonds, Avi King, and 26-yearold Meshach Dublin of Diamonds, appeared at the Serious Offences Court (SOC) on July 1, for bail review.
When the trio were brought before the court for the first time on June 21, Latham maintained his innocence on charges of possession of firearms and ammunition, entering the armoury and stealing, corruption, possession of criminal property, and selling firearms and ammunition without a license.
King on the other hand, pleaded guilty to all but one of the charges laid against him. He admitted to: possession of criminal property, possession of ammunition and firearms without a license, and selling firearms and ammunition without being a licensed firearm dealer. But he pleaded not guilty to possessing a Glock 22 pistol serial number LNL 155.
Dublin admitted guilt on all charges laid against him, which included selling various firearms and ammunition without being the holder of a license to do such, possession of criminal property and having various firearms in his possession without a license to possess them.
On the last occasion there had been an objection to bail because a quantity of ammunition, as well as a firearm had not been recovered, and the investigators at the Major Crimes Unit(MCU) were concerned that if granted bail, the process to recover these weapons would be hindered.
While the court chose not to grant bail at that juncture, it fixed that the decision was to be reviewed yesterday, July 1.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Oswin Elgin Richards who is investigating these matters was also present in court for the occasion.
Prosecutor Sergeant Renrick Cato indicated to Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne that the ASP “informed me that there is some headway as it relates to the recovery of the firearm.”
“…Take into consideration your honour, this is not a cutlass or a knife, it is a firearm,” Cato submitted.
They were asking for one week.
The prosecution also posited that they are fearful that if granted bail the defendants will “based on what was communicated to me by ASP Richards that it would hinder or obstruct that recovery of that firearm.”
Defense counsel Grant Connell represents Dublin and Latham. He recalled that on the last occasion when bail was objected to, “with greatest respect to the investigator”, he had referred to it as a fishing expedition.
“So this week they feeling a bite?” he queried.
He said that his client can provide adequate surety, has sufficient ties to the jurisdiction and therefore he can show the court that he would show up for his trial. Although this is a case that touches and concerns police security, the counsel noted, “A bail application is not a vent to spite someone or to get back at someone or an opportunity to vent your frustration.”
The police are frustrated at what happened, the lawyer submitted, “…But they can’t use a bail application in this court to vent your frustration.”
Someone is granted bail once they fulfil the criteria for such, he noted.
He also submitted that the investigator should go under oath and “and say what he’s looking for”, Firearm serial number xxx is missing from our records and we are looking for it…”.
Commenting on the prosecution’s request for a week’s postponement, the counsel said, “…it’s amazing how the prosecution say ‘just another week’. Sitting at Her Majesty’s pleasure for another week is torture.”
The Chief Magistrate noted, “As counsel rightly highlighted, we can never lose sight of the fact that persons are innocent until proven guilty.”
She also said that the offences are serious, but bail cannot be withheld ad infinitum.
In the end, the magistrate concluded, “I am going to give the prosecution one short chance to see if they complete their headway and then I would review.”
Therefore, there will be another bail review on July 8.
The prosecution had also made a submission that the charge to which King pleaded ‘not guilty’ be put to him once more, and that another charge to which he pleaded ‘guilty’ be put to him again as well.
However, this did not appear to sit well with Connell.
“As an officer of the court I think it uncouth for the prosecution to make that submission to this honourable court,” he said.
King has no legal representation.
The Chief Magistrate said she would “make arrangements for another counsel to appear amicus (as a friend of the court)” for King, to which the counsel said that that was what he was going to suggest – that one of his colleagues represent him. When the trial is held, Latham will fight charges that he, between January 31 and April 1, 2021, at Georgetown, entered the Armoury of the Georgetown Police Station as a trespasser and stole one box containing 50 rounds of .40mm ammunition valued at EC$250, the property of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Between the same dates, he is also charged that he entered the Armoury and stole three boxes of .40mm ammunition valued at EC$750, the property of the Government of SVG.
Latham is also alleged to have, between January 31 and June 17, 2021, being employed in the Government Service as a member of the RSVGPF, and being charged with the performance of duties by virtue of his employment, corruptly received property for himself on account of an action done by him in discharge of the duties of his office.
The former policeman is accused jointly with King, that between June 1 and 4, at Georgetown, they had one M-4 Rifle, serial number W877775, a prohibited weapon, without the authorisation of the Minister.
Further, they both face charges that they, between June 1 and 18 at Georgetown, had in their possession three Glock 22 pistols, serial numbers LNL 155, LNL 151, and LNL 144, without a license issued under the Firearms Act.
King is charged singly with, between June 1 and 4, at Georgetown, entering the Georgetown police station as a trespasser with intent to commit an offence, to wit theft. Dublin, as well as King and Latham, allegedly had in their possession, between June 2 and 18, at Diamond, criminal property to wit, EC$3,200 in cash.
The trio were also arraigned on a charge that they had 305 rounds of .40mm ammunition on June 17.
Dublin, King and Latham, not being licensed firearm dealers, are accused of selling one Glock 22 pistol, serial number LNL 155, and one magazine with 15 rounds of .40mm ammunition to one ‘Pet’ of Sion Hill between June 2 and 17, at Sion Hill.
Police investigations also allege that the three men, on June 17, at Kingstown, not being licensed firearm dealers, sold one Glock 22, serial number LNL 144, and one magazine with 15 rounds of .40mm ammunition to Myron Samuel of Layou.
Dublin on June 17, at Diamond, had an M-4 Rifle, serial number W87775, a prohibited weapon in his possession, and between June 2 and 17 at Sion Hill, he had a Glock 22, serial number LNL 155 in his possession without a license.
On June 17, at Kingstown, Dublin had one Glock 22 pistol serial number LNL 144 without a license.