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Feb 10, 2017

Melissa Ferguson Free; P.I. for Husband Danny Mason et al is February 21st

The time is drawing nearer for William Alexander “Danny” Mason and his accused cohorts to learn their fate. A preliminary inquiry into the indictable charges of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the separate matters of businessman David Dodd and the late Pastor Llewellyn Lucas is scheduled for later this month. But today, there was a case management conference before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, when a sixth defendant received what for her was not shocking news. Mason’s wife, Melissa Ferguson, is free of a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping of Lucas, ending eight months of uncertainty and fear for her life. But for those wondering whether this is the beginning of the end of the Danny Mason saga, News Five’s Aaron Humes reports that it is more like near to the end of the beginning.

 

William "Danny" Mason

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The February twenty-first preliminary inquiry in the case of William “Danny” Mason; Ashton Vanegas of Camalote Village and brothers Keiron Fernandez and Terrence Fernandez as well as Ernest Henry Castillo, all of Roaring Creek Village, is expected to be drama-free. They will be committed for trial on charges of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in relation to the attack on David Dodd and the brutal beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas. But this morning there was one last twist on the road to that date: the decision by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal to drop the charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping against Mason’s wife, Melissa Ferguson, for insufficient evidence. Of course, the Canadian national and her attorney, Richard “Dickie” Bradley, had always maintained her innocence, and now they want an apology and their pound of flesh from the Police Department.

 

Melissa Ferguson

Melissa Ferguson, Freed of Charges

“There was no evidence I was ever involved anything in the first place.”

 

Reporter

“Do you feel relieved? What are your thoughts at this time?”

 

Melissa Ferguson

“Oh, it’s definitely [that] I’m relieved.”

 

Dickie Bradley, Attorney for Melissa Ferguson

“God be praised, she is a free woman now; she can move forward and hopefully get on with her life, and I will advise her that if she wants to sue, it is her prerogative and it is her right to do so and that is a different matter altogether; but I know how happy she is that even without going to trial, she is exonerated one hundred percent.”

 

Dickie Bradley

Reporter

“So you are saying that no explanation was given to your client as to why the charges would be withdrawn?”

 

Dickie Bradley

“Not only no explanation, but the common decency calls for a little apology: ‘Your Honor, we regret that charges were brought against her, and going to public’ – they can send her a letter, they can go about it, they can text it. We are dealing with a human being; we are dealing with a stranger who has lived among us. She was accused of a very, very serious matter.”

 

On the prosecution side, attorney and Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams conceded that the D.P.P. did the right thing – but don’t expect a visit to Intelco Hill from the cops to apologize any time soon.

 

Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams, Prosecutor

“The D.P.P., having gone through the file, decided that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed against Miss Melissa Ferguson and she directed that the matter against her be withdrawn.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, the attorney has said that this should have been the mature decision that the police should have taken from the get-go; how do you respond?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“The attorney has a job to do and he is the attorney representing his client; and it isn’t wrong for him to say that. If I was the attorney for the defense I would say the same too. But the police do act on evidence – but evidence to charge and evidence to convict is two different things. And I am sure that when the police instituted the charges against her, they had sufficient to charge her then; the D.P.P., who will be prosecuting the charge at the Supreme Court level, decided there was not sufficient against her and directed that charges be withdrawn against her, which is the right thing to do, in that case.  I don’t see the need for [an apology], but again, he is her attorney, so he has a right to say that.”

 

Reporter

“Now, do you foresee that a suit can be filed against the police for that; he has talked about that already.”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Anybody can bring a suit against the Police, I don’t know what the suit will be for; but if it is for malicious prosecution, the law of malicious prosecution clearly states that not just because the charge are withdrawn against you by the D.P.P. or by the court, means that there is grounds for malicious prosecution; so I am sure that the attorney will be very careful where he tread if he decides to take a suit against the Department, where that is concerned.”

 

The prosecution is awaiting the result of DNA testing from Miami and has marshalled nearly all of its other evidence against Mason, Vanegas, the Fernandezes and Castillo. But will it be enough? For Bradley and Williams, at least at the preliminary stage, it is; but the Supreme Court will be an entirely different matter.

 

Dickie Bradley

“I informed the Chief Magistrate that we will not be wasting time, that the law provides that once there is some evidence – they use these Latin phrases, prima facie and so on – one there is some evidence in the file – it is not a trial – the procedure is that if there is some evidence in a file against an accused, the attorneys can make submissions or they can save that until when the trial gets under way. The trial is the proper place for that matter.”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“I am not the person who will decide the outcome of this case, so I am not in a position to answer that question; but I can tell you as an attorney and as the person who is dealing with the matter at the Magistrate’s Court level, that there is sufficient evidence in the file, against the other defendants, and that is the reason why the D.P.P. did not direct that charges be withdrawn against anybody else, other than Melissa Ferguson.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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