Jefferson Casimir, a 34-year-old bus driver from the community of Salisbury is now an inmate at the Dominica State Prison following a charge of attempted murder preferred against him by the police.
It is alleged that on September 17, 2022, at Salisbury, Casimir attempted to kill 45-year-old Sampson Langlais with a firearm. When Casimir appeared before Chief Magistrate Candia Carrette-George, the charge was read to him but he was not required to enter a plea since the matter is an indictable offense and is expected to be heard before a judge and jury.
At the hearing, police prosecutor, Inspector Davidson Cadette objected to bail due to the severity of the offense. He stated the alleged crime was committed with the use of a firearm and the said weapon has not yet been recovered by the police. Inspector Cadette added, should the accused be granted bail, the police fears that Casimir may depose the firearm thereby perverting the course of justice.
Another ground for the prosecution’s objection to bail is that the victim in the matter is “terrified and fearful for his life.” However, in response to the prosecution’s objection, defense attorney, Wayne Marsh, insisted that there was no evidence to support the above claims. He told the court, “this is a situation where someone has made a mere allegation against my client. No one was injured and the accused’s home was searched for three days by the police and no firearm was found.”
According to the attorney, Casimir who is the brother of the Parliamentary Representative for the Salisbury constituency, Hector John, is an asset to his community hence it will not be in the public’s interest to deny him bail. “He owns two buses and the people of Salisbury rely on him on [a] daily bases for transportation.” Marsh posited that the primary principle of bail is to secure the defendant’s attendance at court and should not be used as a means of punishment.
“Recently a police officer was granted bail for attempted murder and someone was severely injured. In this situation, not even a fly was hurt and the liberty of this man who has never been convicted of any crime…is being asked to be taken away from him” he averred. “Justice must flow from a stream that is even,” the attorney declared. “If this prosecution can have no objection to bail in a situation where a person was shot multiple times, then the same can be done for someone who stands charged on a mere allegation.”
In response to the defense attorney application, Inspector Cadette said the court deals with each case on its own merit and contended that the prosecution’s objection was laid out without fear, malice, or ill will but simply pursuant to section 7:1 (a) of the bail act. “There was an attempt to commit murder,” he stressed. “The firearm in question is critical to the police investigation as we want to rid the streets of illegal weapons. We cannot treat matters of firearms with callous disregard.”
In advancing his objection, Inspector Cadette added, “the public has an interest in what goes in the court and looks to us for protection. The defendant has a right and so does the public and we must protect their right to a safe society.” In handing down her decision, the Chief Magistrate said she must take the law and the public’s interest into consideration in her ruling.
“A serious offense was allegedly committed and I would like to give the police some time to complete their investigation. Bail is not denied indefinitely but let the dust settle.” She granted the prosecution’s request of one week to allow the police to complete their investigations before bail is reconsidered.
The matter was adjourned to December 16, 2022, at the St. Joseph Magistrate court for Preliminary Inquiry (PI).