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Aug 27, 1999

D.P.P. says Commissioner needs to study Constitution

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The controversy over the dismissal of two high profile murder cases earlier this month continues. Last night on “One on One with Dickie Bradley,” guests Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord and Director of Public Prosecutions, Adolph Lucas said it was not uncommon for cases prepared by the police be thrown out for lack of evidence. The D.P.P. says it is unfortunate the Commissioner of Police has publicly commented that it should have been up to a jury to decide if there was sufficient evidence in the Jackie Malic and Samantha Gordon cases. According to Lucas this indicates the Commissioner does not understand the law, or the function of the D.P.P.

Herbert Lord, Chief Magistrate

“Yes, I have seen cases of that nature. I have done several of them just over the past year where one, I have thrown out about three or four of them because of discovery. When discovery is given there is no evidence which is presented to me or discovery is ordered and the correct discovery is not given. There might be, in one case I did recently, fifty-three different statements were taken. When I ordered discovery only three were given to the defense and when the decision was made prosecution accepted that there were fifty-three, but only three were given. They would not give the rest and I had to act as a final adjournment and dismiss. Some of these cases have been dragging out since the year 1997.”

Adolph Lucas, D.P.P.

“It is sad because here we have the whole population of Belize listening to a functionary like that. The lack of intelligence, sorry not lack of intelligence, but lack of knowledge or ignorance from an English standpoint, not knowing, that provision in the Constitution. And that is placed there for a good cause. Why is it? What is it? So that I be the person to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to send to the police, to the Magistracy. I am not there on the dictate of the police or anybody else, because the Constitution says I am not answerable to anybody, except as you say the courts. I am not acting with any special malice so it is important that you have something there to prosecute, whoever is the holder of the office.”

Lucas cited inconsistencies in the files for both Samantha Gordon and Jackie Malic as reasons why he recommended that the charges be dismissed against the accused. With respect to Michael Williams, Lucas says there was a discrepancy in the time one witness claims to have seen Jackie Malic with Williams, and that one statement even puts Williams in the street at an hour when he was still in police custody. In terms of William’s own volunteered statement and alibi, Lucas says this was verified by a number of people, including a police officer. In the Gordon case, two witnesses, one of whom had to be brought from prison to make a statement, claimed Samantha was at a basketball game on the night of her death with a female friend, but the girl herself denied she was ever with Samantha that night. The Police Department has indicated that they will be seeking more evidence in both cases and have vowed to solve the crimes.

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