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Vincentian men in the British Army on attempted murder and gun charges

Vincentian men in the British Army on attempted murder and gun charges
Left to Right: Keri Phillips, Brently Butler & Keithron Mills

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Three Vincentians said to be enlisted in the British army were taken to court on charges yesterday, for gun-related crimes, and in one case attempted murder.

While all were either supposed to have returned for duty already or in the very near future, they had to surrender all travel documents to the court yesterday, January 3.

The first defendant, Keri Phillips of Chester Cottage is alleged to have, on December 26, with the intent to commit the offence of murder on Istah Mack, done an act which was more than merely preparatory.

He was not required to plea at this stage.

The prosecution, represented by Sergeant Atnel Ash, objected to his bail. This was on the request of the investigators who claimed that they believed that if the defendant was granted bail he would hamper the investigations. They had not been in touch as yet with some witnesses in the matter.

His lawyer Duane Daniel informed the court that his client was picked up last Wednesday.

“Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday morning” he said, listing the days his client had already spent in custody.

“Not to mention, by my calculations, the charge was laid after the 48 hour period because apparently the calculation for a 48 hours starts when the detainee arrives at the police station and apparently not when he is arrested,” Daniel said sarcastically. He declared that makes “absolutely no sense”.

He frowned on the six day period he said his client was in custody, pointing out that “the state ought not to trample on a person’s constitutional right to freedom if they claim to have enough information at the material time, in respect of the ability to charge.”

“…They had ample time to get what additional statements and what not they need” he said, but now, “…claim that their investigations are incomplete when bail is of right unless exceptional circumstances or so prevail. Six days – this is manifestly unfair and tramples on his rights.

He pointed out that there had been no indication of the victim being in hospital.

Further, he also submitted that there was an Identification parade completed and there was no issue as it concerns his client.

Chief magistrate Rechanne Browne queried the condition of the victim. She was told that he was stable, and not in the hospital.

While it was not said in court, information received suggests that he was shot about his body.

The lawyer noted that when one looks at the date, December 26, “He is picked up a week later, on Wednesday” for a further six days.

“What happened between the day of the incident and the week they had to pick him up and what happened since last Wednesday?”

Daniel said that the prosecution did not provide a basis or proffer anything to show how his client would hamper the investigation.

Therefore, “because it’s so vague” he is even unable to suggest how the supposed issue could be cured.

Having considered everything the magistrate allowed bail in the sum of $20,000 with one surety. There is to be no contact with the alleged victim, and reporting conditions to the Georgetown police station were imposed. Travel documents were to be surrendered, and stop notices placed at all ports of entry and exit.

It was at the point of the adjournment date that the lawyer rose to put the court on notice that his client was in the army and as such they were hoping to have a short adjournment. Phillips, who made bail, has been slated to return on January 5.

Brentley Butler of Chester Cottage, also being represented by Daniel, is charged that on December 24, at Mount Young, he unlawfully discharged a firearm at Emi Balcombe of Langley Park.

He pleaded ‘not guilty’ and was allowed bail in the sum of $9000 with one surety with similar conditions attached.

He made bail as well and the army man who was to return to England on Sunday, will instead return to court on January 10.

Keithron Mills, is charged that he on January 2, 2022, at Georgetown, had one .45 pistol, serial number AOC52189 in his possession without a license under the firearms act.

The defendant, represented by counsel Grant Connell, pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the crime.

There was no objection and Mills was granted bail in the sum of $10,000. Similar conditions of no contact, reporting to his district police station and surrendering all travel documents were also imposed.

The lawyer informed that his client was to leave the state on Wednesday. It was also revealed that he too is in the army.

The matter was adjourned to January 17.

“I can’t understand this before me today,” the magistrate commented.

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