Thursday 21 March, 2019

Lawyer successfully argues for bail to spare 21 employees hardship

A businessman charged in connection with a drug matter was described as a Barbadian citizen with an impeccable record and a businessman with community ties.

This was just some of the language used by Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley as he made a successful application for bail for his client Dacosta Alexander Brathwaite. 

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D’s Mega Styles owner Brathwaite, is 53 years old and resides at No.2 Chelston Gardens, Culloden Road, St Michael. He along with fisherman Geroge Washington Williams, 50, of 671 Carlston Road Cumberland Portmore Jamaica are charged with committing preparatory acts for the purpose of trafficking cannabis and conspiring with another person to traffic cannabis on December 20. The drugs are estimated to be valued at $440,000.

Prosecutor Station Sargeant Henry objected to both the accused men’s bail. He spoke of the seriousness of the offence and drew the court’s attention to quantum of drugs in the matter.

Speaking in respect of Williams, he said the fisherman was a non-national who arrived in the island on December 19 and the prosecution feared he would abscond if granted bail.

Another concern for the prosecution was that similar offences would be committed if bail was granted to either accused.

Henry also spoke to the strength of the prosecution’s evidence.

When analyzing the first objection, Lashley stated: “the seriousness of the matter is not the only ground the prosecution should rely on in respect of the granting of bail and they are other matters the prosecution should take into account”.

The lawyer said he could not speak to any evidence at this stage but mitigated strongly on behalf of Brathwaite.

First, he mentioned that Brathwaite was not known to the court but expounded on his career and “outstanding contribution” to the country.

Brathwaite, he said, is an owner of three stores, only expanding his business to open another branch in June 18 this year.

“He has 21 employees,” Lashley highlighted, adding that Braithwaite was also a husband and father of two.

“I must also state to this court that when he realized that the police [wanted him] he went into the police station, he did not run or hide,”

Brathwaite spent Thursday up until Boxing Day in custody at Oistins and Central Police station.

“He has an impeccable record -not known; a successful businessman, he has community ties and he is willing to accept any conditions imposed upon him”

He called the matter a ‘bailable’ offence and spoke of similar matters where persons have been granted bail.

“If my client is remanded we have 21 employees that will have to go on the breadline…he being the sole person responsible for that business. He is the chief, cook and bottle washer of that business”

“A man not known, character is clean as a whistle … he is an excellent candidate for bail”

Lawyer Harry Husbands, who represented Williams, said his client was a visitor to the island on three occasions.

“Being a non-national does not invalidate a person’s right to bail, if not we would have found it in the Bail Act”

He said his client was willing to surrender his passport and find a suitable surety once granted bail.

Husbands, in his mitigation, said his client was a father of one and a licensed fisherman.

“In Jamaica, from my understanding that is not the easiest thing to get up there…you have to meet a particular threshold to obtain [such]… and he has never been charged before in Barbados, Jamaica or Timbuktu”

In concluding, Husbands said the Act allowed for bail to granted for such offences and his client was so entitled to bail.

Magistrate Douglas Frederick in examining the applications granted bail to Brathwaite, however, Williams was remanded.

“So much stands against you,” Frederick said in respect of Willaims.

The magistrate said in addition to the fact that the fisherman was a non-national he also did not have “roots” that tied him to the island.

Though, he acknowledged the fact that Williams had an honourable profession, the court’s concern was that Williams would be a flight risk.

“There is a concern that you may a flight risk…you can always leave by sea, you’re a fisherman, a man who knows the sea well”

In respect of Williams, the magistrate considered the amount of people Brathwaite had employed “who depended on their livelihood as a result of his skill.

“If remanded…people would suffer as such, in fact, your business might be in jeopardy and people will suffer, they will be on the breadline and in these economic times that is very difficult”

He acknowledged the ties and roots that committed him to the island and therefore said he was not a flight risk.

Bail was granted at $220 000 with two sureties for Brathwaite and both will return to court on January 24, 2019.

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