DPP discontinues matter after ‘applying full court test’ – Venezuelans freed
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September 21, 2012
DPP discontinues matter after ‘applying full court test’ – Venezuelans freed

The five Venezuelan men who were charged with the attempted murder and attempted kidnapping of Corporal Rohan DeShong in Union Island on June 3,{{more}} left the State on Wednesday evening, hours after their case was discontinued at the Serious Offences Court.

When the men’s matter was called up for hearing shortly after 10 a.m., Chief Magistrate Sonya Young informed them that the matters against them had been discontinued and they were discharged.

On hearing the news, the men, Junior Jose Astodelle Conteura, Deybi Jose Mata Vicent, 22 Heuwerto Rafael Mata Mata, 55 Darwind Mata Salazar, 27 and the captain of the vessel, Degry Mata Vicent, 28, broke into broad smiles, gave huge sighs of relief, exchanged fist bumps and hugged each other.

The captain had also been charged with failing to notify the Comptroller of Customs of the expected time of arrival of his vessel in St Vincent and the Grenadines on June 3, and failure to transmit the date to the Comptroller of Customs, in accordance with Section 18 C of the Customs Act.

When contacted, Director of Public Prosecution Colin WIlliams said he discontinued the matter after applying the full court test.

“After applying the full court test, there’s no reason to detain the Venezuelans. It was determined that the Venezuelans should no longer be detained in custody,” the DPP explained.

On the day in question, a shoot-out was reported to have taken place at sea between the foreigners and Corporal Rohan DeShong.

Venezuelans David Jose Mata Mata, Natividad de Jesus Mata Mata, and Alfonso Yesid Pallares Medina, who were also on board the boat “El Amigo Fay”, died in the shoot-out. Junior Jose Astodelle Conteura was shot in the right hip.

Customs Guard Othneil Whyte and DeShong were allegedly fired upon by occupants of the El Amigo Fay.

Following the reported shoot-out, Whyte’s body was fished out of the water with a weak pulse. No gunshot wounds were found on his body.

He later died at the Union Island Health Centre. An autopsy performed revealed that he died as a result of drowning.

A package, allegedly thrown overboard during the reported shoot-out, was found to contain laundry soap, police investigators found, and not cocaine as had been suspected.

A Coroners Inquest is still to be held to determine the circumstances surrounding Whyte’s death.(KW)