After losing a challenge to stay a ruling compelling her to commit Regan Rodrigues to stand trial for the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, Magistrate Judy Latchman yesterday committed him to be tried for the crime.
The charge against Rodrigues, who is known as ‘Grey Boy,’ stated that on March 10th, 2015, he murdered Crum-Ewing.
At the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry (PI) into the charge on June 5th, 2017, Magistrate Latchman ruled that there was no case against Rodrigues and discharged him.
Two days later, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack issued a directive to the magistrate to take steps to commit Rodrigues to stand trial in the High Court for the capital offence.
Magistrate Latchman refused to comply with the DPP’s directive, saying she had found no evidence presented by the prosecution that it was Rodrigues who killed Crum-Ewing.
After the magistrate made it clear that she was not going to comply with the directive, Ali-Hack commenced proceedings in the High Court to force her compliance.
At the hearing yesterday, Magistrate Latchman reiterated to a visibly dejected Rodrigues that the court did not find that a case of murder was made out against him but the DPP had moved to the High Court with the matter and she was being compelled to commit him to stand trial for the crime.
Magistrate Latchman then read to Rodrigues the order issued by Justice Brassington Reynolds forcing her to commit him.
Subsequently, Rodrigues heard that based on the directions of the judge, he was committed to stand trial for the offence of murder.
Rodrigues began to cry. “Why they are doing this me?” he asked the magistrate. A resigned Rodrigues subsequently requested to be taken to the court lock-ups.
He will remain on remand until the matter is called in the High Court.
In her application to the High Court, the DPP advanced that the magistrate exceeded her authority by refusing to comply with her instructions to commit Rodrigues to trial.
In an oral ruling delivered on November 17th, Justice Reynolds ruled that in her defence Magistrate Latchman “misconstrued and misapprehended her statutory obligations.”
It was a contention of the DPP that the magistrate “is not vested with a discretion, statutory or otherwise, to refuse to comply with the provisions” of the Section of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act invoked by the DPP in directing her.
Dissatisfied with Justice Reynolds’ ruling, Magistrate Latchman has since filed an appeal, where she is contending, among other things, that the judge’s decision cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence and the law.