Court dismisses Dion Bascom’s case against DPP

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The High Court Friday dismissed Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom’s application seeking to quash a decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack.

Bascom, stationed at Ana Regina Police Station, had on October 14, brought charges against Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum under Section 19(3) of the Cybercrime Act 2018. He alleged that Blanhum used a computer system to subject him to ridicule during a press conference on August 17, 2022, where Blanhum accused Bascom of lying and misleading the public.

But the DPP, on September 15, 2022, discontinued the charges.

Bascom then approached the court to nullify the DPP’s decision. The Court did not agree with the arguments presented by his attorneys.

“There is no evidence adduced that establishes that the Respondent (the DPP) acted in bad faith or for an improper purpose, or that she acted illegally, irrationally or unfairly,” Justice Damone Younge said in her decision.

On August 8, 2023 Bascom was among five persons arrested by the Customs Anti Narcotic Unit (CANU) after three pounds of cocaine were found in a Norton Street, Georgetown, residence.

Though arrested, Bascom was not charged and was released by CANU but he went LIVE on his Facebook page and made several damning allegations of corruption against city businessman Azruddin Mohamed and senior officers of the Police Force as it relates to the murder of Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes.

The Crime Chief denied the claims made by Bascom.

“Dion Bascom is not being honest and is manufacturing false or concocted information out of malice against members of the Guyana Police Force,” Blanhum had said.

The DPP, acting under Article 187(1)(c) of the Constitution, discontinued the charges a day after they were filed, leading to their dismissal on September 21, 2022. Bascom argued that the DPP had not consulted him or reviewed the evidence he intended to present and claimed the decision was “unreasonable, irrational, irregular, improper and unsupported by any facts.”

In court, it was determined that the case would be resolved based on legal arguments alone, as the facts were not in dispute.

In her decision, Justice Younge emphasised that judicial review is concerned with the decision-making process rather than the merits of the decision itself. It found that the DPP had acted within her constitutional powers and had exercised her discretion appropriately.

The Court noted that the DPP has broad powers to discontinue criminal proceedings at any stage before judgment and that there is no legal obligation for the DPP to consult with the complainant or provide reasons for discontinuing a case. The Court also found no evidence to support Bascom’s claims of bad faith or improper purpose.

As a result, the Court dismissed Bascom’s application and ordered him to pay costs of $150,000 to the respondent by July 22, 2024.

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