‘Justice system failed’ Sergeant by keeping him in prison for over 5 years – lawyers
The lawyers for the former Police Sergeant Colin Bailey who was on Wednesday freed of a 2013 murder charge have lamented that the justice system failed him by keeping him locked up for five and half years without any evidence to pin him to the crime.
Bailey was charged with the 2013 murder of his ex-girlfriend Sirmattie Ramnaress. But on Wednesday he was freed after the State failed to present witnesses to pin him to the crime; he was represented by attorneys Nigel Hughes, Konyo Sandiford and Ronald Daniels.
The former Sergeant was charged with the offence of murder on February 24, 2016, and was remanded to custody since. That means he remained behind bars for five and a half years though there was no evidence against him.
“There is something fundamentally wrong with a justice system when a citizen can be charged, committed and indicted when there is no evidence connecting the citizen with the commission of the offence,” the attorneys wrote in a joint press statement released late Wednesday.
They continued: “When that happens it sends the wrong message to society and persons believe that the system of trial by one’s peers is broken, persons cast aspersions at the judiciary because these persons do not know that from its inception the case was doomed to fail.”
Though the attorneys lamented the treatment of Bailey, it was noted that this was not an isolated incident. In fact, they highlighted observations made by Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, who freed Bailey on Wednesday; Justice Barlow noted that there were other persons in a similar position in another county.
This has been deemed an indictment on the justice system in Guyana where miscarriages of justice facilitated by the state continue unabated.
In Bailey’s case, another man named Colin Grant has claimed he was paid by the Police Sergeant to commit the murder.
But, the lawyers stated that the Court’s plea to the prosecutorial arm of the state is to examine the material and that no charge should be instituted where there is no evidence.
They also urged the law enforcement authorities to “fulfill the constitutional mandate that dictates that no one should be before the court unless there is some lawful reason for that person to be there.”
While providing her ruling on Wednesday, Justice Barlow said that Bailey should not have been before the court since that was a waste of judicial time.
During the trial hearing on Wednesday, Prosecutor Sarah Martin was expected to call three more witnesses. But when questioned by the judge, she agreed that none of the other witnesses would present evidence linking Bailey to the crime.
As a result, Bailey’s attorney Nigel Hughes asked for the case to be dismissed since his client had no case to answer. The judge said that no charge should have been laid by the State against Bailey if there was no evidence and she instructed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.