Court rules against prosecution over failure to disclose evidence – iWitness News

Justice of the Peace Zoila Ellis-Browne, on Thursday, criticised the prosecution within the Georgetown Police Station firearms and ammunition theft trial over their failure to reveal a search warrant to the defence.

The court docket ordered on Jan. 4 that disclosure happen by Feb. 7.

On Thursday, day 4 of the trial, which started on Feb. 25, the prosecution tried to tender a search warrant in proof, however the court docket upheld the objection of defence counsel Grant Connell.

The event got here because the lead investigator, Assistant Superintendent of Police Oswin Elgin Richards continued his proof in chief, which he started giving on Wednesday.

Richards advised the court docket that in his investigation, the defendant, Zackrie Latham, 26, a former police officer, of New Grounds, handed over to him a purple and black cellphone.

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“It was packaged, handed over to the I.T. division [of the police force) to be sent to the Fusion Forensic Lab in Barbados for analysis,” Richards told the court.

“I also said previously that I applied to the court for a warrant. On close thought, I can recall when I was granted that warrant to search that phone, I recognised that I did not include the black and red phone in that warrant,” he said.

Richards had initially obtained a warrant to send two phones and an iPad to Barbados for forensic analysis.

He told the court:

“And so, on June 23, I went back to the court, the Serious Offences Court, and I made an application for a warrant to search that black and red phone. On that application, I made it on two phones, I think — a phone for the defendant and one for Delroy Fergus. That warrant was granted and on June 24, I handed over the warrants to the I.T. department.”

Richards told the court that he could identify the warrant by his name and the names of the defendant and Kelroy Fergus within the body of the warrant.

The prosecutor then made an application for the warrant to be identified and tendered in evidence.

The magistrate, as she had done with other documents throughout the trial, asked if the warrant had been disclosed to the defence.

Jackson-Richards told the court that the warrant was disclosed by email.

Connell asked her to disclose the time that that disclosure was effected.

“As I know it, disclosure is on-going and based on an email that I would have (sic) received… counsel would have been (sic) served with this particular document last night at 8:30 and he was served with a copy this morning.”

However, Connell told the court that when he was returning to the courtroom a few minutes earlier from a bathroom break, the court clerk “approached me with a document — apparently he doesn’t know better — in the precinct’s of the court”.

The lawyer further noted that the prosecutor spoke of an email at 8:30 p.m.

“I don’t know how the DPP office operates but I am a happily married man and when I leave the precincts of this court, I have a family that I attend to.

“From my recollection, there was an order for disclosure. Yesterday, a search warrant was tendered and the officer gave no evidence in chief of this so-called second [warrant]. The primary warrant made no point out of the purple cellphone going to Barbados.”

Connell mentioned that he discovered it unusual that the prosecutor had requested for an adjournment the day gone by, when “the ASP’s evidence was close to ending”.

He mentioned that what was even “more strange” was that the warrant that the prosecution obtained on June 23, 2021 had not been disclosed as per order of court docket.”

Grant Connell Zackrie Latham
Defence Counsel Grant Connell, left, and his consumer, Zackrie Latham, leaves the Calliaqua Justice of the Peace’s Court on Thursday, Might 12, 2022.

“This highlights the quagmire and I would like the court docket to take word. Isn’t it greater than coincidence that the primary search warrant the place they requested to go looking the iPad and gray cellphone belonging to Latham and so they bought that order for it to be searched and people objects by no means went to Barbados to be searched, however the purple Samsung that was taken earlier than the warrant was issued was the one one to go?

“It highlights the problem because this offends the nostrils of justice because disclosure has not been done,” Connell mentioned.

Nonetheless, the prosecutor requested the lawyer to quote the authorized authority upon which he was making the objection.

She mentioned that one other witness might converse to the difficulty about which gadgets had been despatched to Barbados.

Connell responded:

“Bad practice has become so prevalent that the prosecutor, from her submission, has no respect for your order. The court made an order for disclosure. I don’t understand how she can say disclosure is on-going. There is an order for disclosure that must be complied with. The warrant falls within the boundaries pre your order. Therefore, it should have been disclosed before, in compliance with your order.”

The lawyer mentioned he, subsequently, didn’t have to cite any authorized authority to assist his objection to the warrant being tendered in proof.

“Just like the defence, the prosecution must respect your order. I am trained to respect your order. If they come now and say, before the very court that gave the order, to explain why they should comply with your order — common sense is not common.”

Jackson-Richards started saying that it isn’t the prosecution’s follow to disrespect the court docket.

Nonetheless, the Justice of the Peace didn’t entertain her, including that she thought the prosecutor was going to quote an authority in her favour.

Ellis-Browne reiterated the order in January for disclosure.

The prosecutor responded that every one the paperwork that had been within the prosecution’s possession had been disclosed.

“This is a document that after I got conduct of the matter, I realised and asked for it,” the prosecutor mentioned.

The Justice of the Peace mentioned the prosecutor’s clarification made the matter worse.

“Someone in your team who had the document — and that team includes the investigation team — did not see it fit to pass it. Let’s move on.”

Connell then rose and tried to quote authority in his favour, however the Justice of the Peace didn’t entertain him, saying that the court docket had dominated on the matter.

The prosecutor made an software for the purple and black cellphone to be tendered in proof.

“What is the purpose for tendering it?” Connell requested the court docket.

The Justice of the Peace mentioned that’s for the prosecution to say.

“They may have something up their sleeve,” Ellis-Browne mentioned.

Connell didn’t object to the cellphone being tendered and it was entered into proof.  

Latham is being tried on 13 expenses of official corruption, housebreaking, sale of firearms and not using a supplier’s licence, sale of ammunition and not using a supplier’s licence, possession of a firearm and not using a licence, possession of ammunition and not using a licence, possession of a prohibited weapon with out authorisation of the minister, and possession of legal property.

The trial continues on Monday at 9 a.m.

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