Three Vincentians have once again been placed on remand in Barbados to await their day in court to answer to several charges linked to the alleged importing of over $700,000 worth of cannabis earlier this year.
And the attorney of at least one of these Vincentians has put the prosecution on notice to either have the file on the matter ready for the December 3 date or she will seek a dismissal of the case.
According to an article published in The Nation Newspaper yesterday, attorney Angella Mitchell-Gittens said in court last Friday that “given that these men are non-nationals and given that bail might not be forthcoming, this is a matter that should be prioritised”.
“But it cannot be that you have three non-nationals charged and every 28 days we hear ‘come back for another 28 days because there is no file’,” she said.
Boat captain Michael Montgomery Jackson, chief engineer Brendon Elliston Ollivierre and deck hand Jake-Jess McPherson King are accused of having 176.9 kilograms of cannabis; having a traffickable quantity of the drug; having it with intent to supply and importing the drug on April 27, 2021.
The drugs, along with fruits and vegetables, were allegedly found on board a vessel which had docked in the Bridgetown Port.
The three Vincentians have been on remand since being charged, with December 3 being set as the date for the case to be heard.
According to reports in August, the prosecution had indicated that the files on the case were not yet ready.
And when the case was called last week, it appeared that was once again the case.
“I am asking that the prosecution be put on notice because I am firing a warning shot because when we come back I will be asking for a dismissal and I will continue to ask until something happens or until I persuade you to do that,” Mitchell-Gittens is reported as saying.
“But it cannot be that non-nationals are charged in a foreign country . . . if they are home fine, they can go home, but they are away from their families and if they are not to be granted bail then the matters must be expedited.”
Jackson was represented by attorney Mitchell-Gittens; Ollivierre by Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim and Latisha Springer, and King by attorney Martie Garnes.
Garnes, King’s lawyer, had also petitioned for the accused to be released on bail, on the basis that they had been on remand for just over half a year.
“The fact of the matter is this is not a firearm offence, this is not murder, the court can grant these men bail,” the lawyer said.
He also noted that his client was “slowly but surely” losing weight in prison.
“Just because he is a non-national does not mean he cannot be granted bail. The fact of the matter is the court can grant him bail with any number of conditions. The court can make him report to a police station twice a day,” Garnes told the court, adding that King’s passport was confiscated by authorities so as to prevent him from travelling.