When Myron Samuel appeared before Chief Magistrate last Monday, it was to learn that she would not be going ahead as the trial judge in the matter.
Samuel is one of four young Vincentian men who were implicated in a cache of missing guns and ammunition – said to be stolen – from the Georgetown precinct of the Royal SVG Police Force.
Samuel along with former police constable, Zackrie Latham, were the first to enter not guilty pleas when various charges were put to them at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown.
Avi King pled guilty to all but one of the charges brought against him while Meshach Dublin answered “guilty” every time Chief Magistrate Rechanne Brown enquired, “how do you plea?”
Dublin later changed his lawyer – from Grant Connell to Jomo Thomas – retracted his guilty plea and was also successful in his bail application. He now awaits his trial at the Colonaire Magistrate Court.
Meanwhile, in King’s case, the SOC has already imposed a 2 years and 8 months sentence on the 26 year old, soon-to-be-father of 3 for his acknowledged role in this daring development. The single charge to which King pleaded not guilty was withdrawn by Prosecutor Renrick Cato.
Chief Magistrate Browne, on Friday 23 July, invited Samuel’s defence counsel, Connell, along with Prosecutor Cato to approach the bench.
She said, “I think there’s something both parties have to iron out.”
Following that powwow, the matter was adjourned to Monday 26. Samuel returned to the SOC to hear that his trial would be heard in the neighboring Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
Connell challenged the first date, August 13, that was proposed by the Chief Magistrate.
He told the SOC that Myron Samuel will be changing his plea and is expecting all of the attendant benefits that would come with following such a course of action even as he requested “a shorter period if possible.”
This in turn provoked a commitment from the bench to “find a better date by Wednesday.”
Asbert News Network caught up with Connell and enquired about the evident recusal of the Chief Magistrate in this matter; since she did not proffer any preamble in open Court.
He told us, “if an issue is raised the Magistrate is entitled to recuse herself. You know, do the right thing and the do the thing right.”
Last week Connell’s application to have Bertie Pompey – the ex-Deputy Commissioner of Police, now turned Magistrate – recuse himself from Latham’s trial was denied.
One locally published, digital media source reported that the prosecution’s Corporal Charles successfully lobbied the Colonaire Magistrate Court – which is located in the same building that houses the pilfered police armory – against allowing Connell’s recusal request.
Magistrate Pompey, the news site noted, was confident in his ability to recuse himself “if he feels there is any prejudice.”