Director of Public Prosecu-tions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack yesterday directed Magistrate Judy Latchman to take steps to commit Regan Rodrigues to stand trial in the High Court for the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, just one day after the court ruled that there was no case against him.
Magistrate Latchman has since indicated that she would not be able to comply with the directive.
Ali-Hack issued the directive by way of a letter to Magistrate Latchman, while citing provisions set out in Section 72 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act. “I hereby remit to Your Worship the above-mentioned matter and direct you to comply with Sections 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Proce-dure) Act, Chapter 10:01 with a view to committing the accused,” the letter stated.
However, special prosecutor Nigel Hughes said while the magistrate acknowledged receipt of the letter to him, she also said that she would not be complying with the directive since she had already discharged Rodrigues. As a result, Hughes said he was awaiting a response from the DPP.
Magistrate Latchman, in her ruling on Monday, 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 that 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.
Hughes yesterday said that the magistrate admitted into evidence caution statements deemed to have been made freely and voluntarily by Rodrigues and the decision to discharge him should have been left up to a jury to decide.
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 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 may adjourn the inquiry 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.”
The magistrate’s decision to discharge Rodrigues on Monday came just over two months after Ali-Hack had ordered that the Preliminary Inquiry into the charge against Rodrigues, called ‘Grey Boy,’ be re-opened for additional evidence to be taken from police witnesses. She had previously found that there was no evidence against Rodrigues that implicated him in the murder of Crum-Ewing, who was gunned down in Diamond, while urging persons to vote in the May, 2015 elections.
Rodrigues had been charged in July, 2015 with unlawful possession of a pistol and 14 live rounds of ammunition. The gun was reported to have been linked to the murder of Crum-Ewing and formed the basis for the murder charge. But he was freed of the gun and ammo charges after a court found that the prosecution had failed to prove that he had had knowledge and possession of the articles.