The Director of Public Prosecutions – DPP, has advised the Commissioner of Police to lay charges against persons involved in the Cornelius John matter which has gained a lot of public attention.
Reports emerged in the local media that there was the discharge of a firearm on the private property of Mr. Cornelius John, 60, at Diamond, on April 13, 2021, and that Mr. John was shot during the incident.
In those reports in the local media, which included video interviews with Mr. John, government senator, Ashelle Morgan and the Assistant Director of Public Prosecution – Mr. Karim Nelson were said to have been on the scene of the incident.
It later emerged in early May 2021, that Senator Morgan and Assistant DPP Nelson were declared by the police as “persons of interest” in ongoing investigations on the matter.
On June 24, 2021, in a press release from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP), Sejilla McDonald announced the following charges against Mr. Cornelius John, Assistant DPP Karim Nelson, Senator Ashelle Morgan:
Threatening Language against Mr. Cornelius John in respect of complaints made by Mrs. Nicole John;
Threatening Language against Mr. Cornelius John in respect of a complaint made by Ms. Ashelle Morgan;
Wounding and Unlawful discharge of firearm against Mr. Karim Nelson in respect of complaints by Mr. Cornelius John; and
Assault with intent to commit Wounding against Ms. Ashelle Morgan in respect of a complaint by Mr. Cornelius John.
In announcing the charges, the DPP said:
“I am resolute that I will not be swayed by improper influences that seek to heavily encroach on my decision making. I am empowered by the Constitution Order to come to a determination as to the direction of the complaints. I reason that the justice of the situation demands that the following matters are ventilated in a court of law as there are conflicting facts”.
She added that given her assessment of the facts and circumstances, applying legal principles and the Code for Prosecutors, she advised the Commissioner of Police to lay the charges.
The DPP said, however, “there are allegations of varying forms of violence which our society abhors. Even so, constitutionally, all persons facing criminal charges are deemed to be innocent, until or unless, a court of law determines guilt”.