Portsmouth woman freed of theft charges

Gina Abraham (seen here) and Wayne Norde represented the accused

High Court Judge Victoria Charles-Clarke has upheld submissions made by attorneys for Nadishsa Drigo-Demizene of Portsmouth and freed the Portsmouth woman of two counts of theft.

Drigo-Demizene was represented in the criminal matter by attorneys at law Wayne Norde and Gina Abraham.

It is alleged that Drigo-Demize who worked at Portsmouth Animal Feed Center, stole stock valued at EC$82,753.55 and cash amounting to $16,382.20 between April 25, 2014 and March 7, 2015.

Norde and Abraham who represented the accused pro bono (free), submitted to the court that an error was committed by the presiding magistrate.

The prosecution told the court that the breach was not grave and “was insufficient” to invalidate the deposition since the accused was given several opportunities to cross examine witnesses.

However, Norde told the court that the fact that the accused was not given a chance to cross examine two witnesses  was prejudicial to her.

He continued, “The accused must be given an opportunity to cross examine witnesses either by self or through an attorney and that was not done.” He asked the court to reject the request by the prosecution to be given “a second bite at the cherry.”

In response, Justice Charles-Clarke said, “I got nothing re submissions from the prosecution of this matter. Lawyers must be able to stand on their feet and address the court; we should be at trial now. The State conceded to the application made by the defense.”

She continued, “I gave them a second opportunity to address the court and they have failed to satisfy, especially since the accused was not represented at the preliminary inquiry. I will now uphold the objection from defense counsel and declare the committal a nullity…I am not going to give the State more time.”

Since the accused was placed in the care of the jury, two men and seven women, the judge instructed them to return a “not guilty” verdict against the accused which they did.

For Gina Abraham, one of the two lawyers for the accused, the omission from the magistrate’s court was fatal.

“During our review of the documents brought to us, we discovered that two of the depositions which contained witness statements (two witnesses) as transpired in the magistrate’s court, that ……the accused was not given an opportunity to cross examine the witnesses and as a result of that, we made an application to the court that the said depositions were defective. Fatal to the prosecution’s case and invalid,” Abraham said.

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  1. pydana
    January 27, 2019

    Dominica is going down pretty fast, from the top leaders who is the goose and those beneath is the gander.the leaders getting away with corruption so you have to give the ordinary man the same benefit. watch it Dominica you making the situation stronger its going to come around and bit you in the rear end. the lawyers on both sides had dinner together and brought a takeaway meal to the judge. sorry about that business man I feel your loss and your pain. no justice.

  2. Shay
    January 26, 2019

    How u can theif all that money and living in a shack?

  3. mine
    January 26, 2019

    There is no victory when these cases are tied up with evil. There is no smoke with a fire.

  4. Eyes Closed
    January 25, 2019

    Who are the members of the state’s prosecutor team? The weakest set of individuals cashing a pay check. Those are amateur blunders. You continue to bring cases with no evidence. You continue to come to court unprepared. Shame and embarrassment.

  5. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    January 25, 2019

    The judicial system in Dominica is a joke I don’t see how someone who might only have an elementary education, never study law, never went to law school; climb through the ranks of the police force only to become a public prosecutor.

    These people are ignorant of the law, unable to interpret law, they read a manual and believe they are capable of contending with a train lawyer. The same applies to Magistrates in the country, they pull people out of the civil service, crown them chief magistrate; without ever sitting one day in a law school.

    Anybody who sits in judgment over anyone must first be a lawyer, before they can become a public prosecutor, or a magistrate. In any event one must serve in the position as a commissioner prior to confirmation as a magistrate.

    That is how it works within countries where common law is practiced! If one never study, nor trained in law how are you going to argue a case against a seasoned lawyer?

  6. MissJ
    January 25, 2019

    Those technicalities knowing full well thenperson committed the crime, is what is damaging our country and putting allowing thieves and murderers and what else to continue living their lives without any fear for the law. It also creates an enabling society for others to commit crime because they know they will get away with it. Something needs to change in the Justice System. Its not working or working too well for the Criminals

  7. It's my damn business
    January 25, 2019

    But that is really not grave you know. I mean it’s over 5 years since GON Emmanuel filed forty-counts of theft against his own college and you know what, our “no law and no constitution” took control and that matter has been blocked. Since then GON Emmanuel’s house was firebombed and although someone confessed to have done, the authorities made a soup with it until GON Emmanuel went to meet his maker. So no need to go after a poor lady

  8. Shaka Zulu
    January 25, 2019

    It is a habbit. The state has a very disturbing reputation. Agin we maybe had police officers as prosecutors and lawyers on defense. This is unaceptable and a darn shame.

  9. Frank N Stein
    January 25, 2019

    Setting them free on technicality doesn’t help them. The person will just voodoo them and they will keep getting in trouble all their life till they get stopped. This is no victory.

    • Galileo
      January 25, 2019

      Other than the voodoo part, I support your comments. We keep doing this know that fully well the individual is guilty. Let’s continue this nonsense and talk about technicality. Let’s keep building our Trinidad and Jamaica. We will be living in the hell we created.

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