Justice Birnie Stephenson-Brookes on Monday sent a strict warning to police officers who fail to appear in court to give evidence during assizes.
This warning came moments after attorney for the state Clement Joseph, made an application to traverse the murder trial of Clement Labassiere to the September assizes. According to him, the application was made because key police witnesses seemed to have abandoned the matter.
The Judge who reluctantly traversed the matter indicated that she was doing so to put an end to this type of action and warned the prosecution that she would discharge the matter if this was to occur again.
“I have an issue with this!” she stated. “When we have assizes in this court I expect every police officer involved to be present. The next time a matter is before the court and a police officer is not here I will dismiss the matter.”
She made it clear to the senior officers present at the Roseau High Court that officers involved in assizes should not be allowed to go on annual leave or leave the state while the assizes is in progress.
Clement Labassiere is on trial for the murder of 74-year-old Ambrose Leblanc of Vielle Case. Labassiere allegedly hit Leblanc with a stone on the head on February 16 and inflicted an injury which is believed to have caused his death three days later.
He was one of several prisoners who had successfully appealed, at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal, sentences handed down by Magistrate Tiyani Behanzin in April 2010 and had walked out a free man after being incarcerated for 10 months on a number of charges including assault and battery.
Labassiere, who had faced charges of threats, throwing missiles, battery and five charges of assault, was sentenced to a total of 27 months in jail in 2009. However, according to the Court of Appeal the defendant should have spent less time in jail.
The assizes which began in May 2012 is expected to close formally on Friday.
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