By Oliciea Tinnie
Despite being discharged for a third time on the charge of murdering political activist Courtney Crun-Ewing, Regan Rodrigues, known as `Grey Boy’, remained in police custody up to press time.
Commander of `A’ Division, Marlon Chapman last evening told Stabroek News that Rodrigues is in custody until a further order by the court.
It is unclear what is to happen next as two attempts in as many days by the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to have Rodrigues committed to stand trial for Crum-Ewing’s murder have been turned back by the magistrate’s court.
Magistrate Judy Latchman yesterday maintained her decision to discharge Rodrigues despite a second letter from Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack directing her to have the accused committed to stand trial in the High Court for the crime.
For the third day, an emotional Rodrigues was taken before Magistrate Latchman in handcuffs despite having been freed of the charge of murder since Monday. Crum-Ewing was gunned down in Diamond, East Bank Demerara while urging persons to vote in the May 2015 elections.
At yesterday’s hearing a tearful Rodrigues stood in the prisoner’s dock while Magistrate Latchman did her best to explain why he was in court once again. She told Rodrigues that she was in receipt of a letter from the DPP, ordering her to commit him to stand trial for the crime.
Prior to reading the letter, the magistrate noted that the court had already found that there was no prima facie case made out against Rodrigues and that the court would be maintaining its position.
The magistrate then proceeded to read the contents of the letter, which stated that in accordance with Section 72 (2) (ii) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act Chapter 10:01, I (Shalimar Ali-Hack) hereby remit to your worship the above mentioned matter and direct you to comply with Sections 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act Chapter 10:01, with a view that I (Shalimar Ali-Hack) am of the opinion that a prima facie case has been made out against the defendant and directs you (Magistrate Latchman) to commit the accused.”
Section 73 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act states, “Where before the discharge of the accused person the provisions of Sections 66 and 67 have not been complied with and the Director of Public Prosecutions, after the receipt of those documents and things, is of opinion that the evidence given on behalf of the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the accused, the Director of Public Prosecutions may remit those documents and things to the magistrate with directions to reopen the inquiry and to comply with Sections 66 and 67, and may give such further directions as he [or she] may think proper.”
Section 73 (2) (ii) (b) adds, “After complying with the directions given by the Director of Public Prosecutions under subparagraph (a), the magistrate may either commit the accused for trial or he [or she] may adjourn the quiry and, subject to any directions on the matter given by the Director of Public Prosecutions, forthwith notify the Director of Public Prosecutions who shall give any further directions as he may deem fit and, if of opinion that a sufficient case has been made out for the accused to answer, may direct the magistrate to commit the accused for trial.”
At the end of the magistrate’s explanation, Rodrigues shouted, “Is what they really want from me? Is problems they looking for?”
The magistrate then told him that she was just following the law and reopening the case.
Frustrated and in tears, Rodrigues began to shout that he was innocent and had been freed.
“No! No! No!” he shouted and lay on the ground outside the prisoners’ dock surrounded by police officers, who, in vain, attempted to place him back inside.
Weeping, he shouted, “Who gon investigate the police?! Who gon investigate the police? When the police do wrong nobody is investigate them unless a gun or something go missing from a court case! What they want from me really? I innocent! Innocent!”
A thick fog of emotions spread throughout the courtroom as the accused cried out in anguish and tears flowed from members of the public as the magistrate asked the defendant if he wished to say anything, to which he responded, “What else I could say? Ah done prove ah innocent how much times, wa else I could say?”
The magistrate then asked him if he wished to call any witnesses. “Only God I could call for them believe I innocent, only God,” he replied.
Weeping once more, he and turned to the parents of Crum-Ewing and said, “Best I kill myself and make y’all feel good. Is nuh dat y’all want? How much more times I need to prove I’m innocent?”
He continued to vent his emotions and the magistrate took a recess.
When she returned shortly after, Magistrate Latchman stated that the court maintains that there was no evidence to put Rodrigues on trial for any indictable offence. She then proceeded to once again discharge him and order that he sign his deposition.
But this did not go down well with persons in the courtroom, including family members of the deceased, who appeared angry with the magistrate’s decision.
Most affected was Rodrigues, who, after hearing that he was once again freed of the crime, fell to his knees weeping, resulting in his mother and other family members weeping joyfully as well.
Sometime later he was escorted down to the court lockups where he was released from his shackles. However, he was not allowed to leave the compound freely. Instead, he was escorted by two armed ranks into a police vehicle, in the company of a family member.
Stabroek News contacted the DPP Chambers yesterday, but was referred to attorney Nigel Hughes since he was granted a fiat to be the special prosecutor in the case. Efforts made to contact him proved futile.
In her ruling on Mon-day, Magistrate Latchman had said she was satisfied that based on the evidence presented, Crum-Ewing was shot with a .32 pistol that was found in a house. However, the magistrate added, there was no evidence that Rodrigues used the gun, pulled the trigger and shot Crum-Ewing. She further stated that she took into consideration the 14 oral statements that were made by Rodrigues and found that they in no way implicated him in the murder of Crum- Ewing. She said there was no case for Rodrigues to answer and as a result the murder charge against him was discharged.
The accused had also been charged in July, 2015, with unlawful possession of a pistol and 14 live rounds of ammunition. The gun was reportedly linked to the murder of Crum-Ewing and formed the basis for the murder charge. However, Rodrigues was freed of the gun and ammo charges by Magistrate Fabayo Azore after she found that the prosecution had failed to prove that he had knowledge and possession of the articles.