Case against Member of Parliament Danny Lugay dismissed
Chief prosecutor did not appear at the magistrate's court
Magistrate Bernard Pacquette today dismissed a matter involving Roseau North MP Daniel Lugay for "want of prosecution."
United Workers Party (UWP) Member of Parliament, Daniel "Danny" Lugay, was arrested and charged in July 2014 with inciting the murder of Senior Counsel Alick Lawrence arising from statements Lugay made at a UWP political meeting in Soufriere.
He was granted bail in the sum of EC$8,000 with one surety.
Lugay was arrested and charged two weeks after stating at the meeting on July 3 that there are some people who "deserve to die" for keeping Dominica back.
The charge read in part:
"On the 3rd day of July 2014 at Soufriere Danny Lugay did unlawfully incite the murder of Alick Lawrence by uttering to the people 'you know not too long ago we met with the Electoral Commission and I am looking Alick Lawrence in the face, right? And he wouldn't say a word, you know, and these are the guys that are obstructing electoral reform in Dominica, you know. I have said in a public meeting in Fond Cole if I wasn't a believer, I would take out some people in Dominica, you know. My heart is different and that is why I wouldn't do it but it have some people that deserve to die in Dominica. Honestly, when you see the sort of things that they do to keep back Dominica."
One week after making the statements, Lugay apologized.
"I sincerely regret the statements and without reservation apologize to the people of the Soufriere Constituency in particular, and the people of Dominica in general," Lugay said.
He said he is deeply sorry for the inconvenience the statements may have caused his family, the constituents of Roseau North, colleagues in the UWP and the Parliament of Dominica.
"I ask for the forgiveness of all. I pledge my continued commitment to serve the people of Roseau North and the people of Dominica," Lugay said.
Today, in court for the very first time Lawrence, Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan appeared in court; however, Trinidadian lawyer Gilbert Peterson SC who the State hired to prosecute was not present.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Evelina Baptiste told the court that she did not have conduct of the matter and did not know Peterson's whereabouts and she asked the court to "bend backwards and grant an adjournment."
"I am here because you called for me Your Honour. I don't have conduct of this matter and so I am constrained. This is a matter of public interest and I think it should be allowed to be ventilated in the court," Baptiste said.
But Lugay's lawyer, David Bruney, reminded the court that it had stated that this was the final adjournment and added to that the prosecution had failed to give disclosure as mandated by the court.
"Your Honour, this is a lack of respect to the court; Mr. Peterson SC is a senior member of the court and has not written to the court about his absence," Bruney said as he asked the court to dismiss the matter. Before ruling, Magistrate Pacquette said that he was "perplexed" that the prosecution had not appeared.
Pacquette said: "The prosecution is unable to put together a case…we have no prosecutor and the DPP does not have conduct of the matter. The charge against you is therefore dismissed for want of prosecution, they can reinstate it if they so wish".
"You are free to go," Pacquette told Lugay.