Police Officer Michael Laudat
Police Officer Michael Laudat

A 24 and 23-year-old who now stand charged with murder have been denied bail as according to Magistrate Michael Laudat, it is not in the public's interest for the men to be released.

The police charged Tyrone Theophile and Jervon Vidal of Fond Cole for the murder of Frederick "Neg" Pascal of the Kalinago Territory who resided in Fond Cole.

Pascal, who is Dominica's 13th homicide victim was discovered in an unresponsive state with a puncture wound to the left side of his chest on the floor of a shop at Fond Cole at about 7:00 a.m. on July 18, 2022.

Following an investigation by the police, Theophile and Vidal appeared before the Roseau Magistrate court on July 28, 2022, where the charge of murder was read to them.

The accused men were not required to enter a plea as the matter is indictable and is expected to be tried at the High Court before a judge and jury.

After the charge was read to the two men, defense attorney Wayne Norde attempted to sway the court into granting bail to his clients according to section 7 of the Bail Act.

In his bail application, Norde said it is in the public's interest to grant bail to the young adults as according to him they should not be remanded in custody for their protection.

He added that there was no threat against them by anyone in the community nor are they a threat to any member of society.

The attorney avowed that his clients will surrender to custody, will not commit any offense while on bail, and will not interfere with any of the state witnesses.

However, in response to the defense bail application, acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sherma Dalrymple told the court that it was not in the public's interest to grant bail to the accused men since the firearm used to commit the said offense has not yet been discovered by police.

The following day, July 29, in handing down his decision, magistrate Laudat referenced several case laws which he said assisted him in his ruling.

He reminded the court that in keeping with the new Bail Act, a person charged with a serious offense is not entitled to bail as a right unless there is just cause in doing so but the prosecution must provide substantial grounds for their objection to bail.

Magistrate Laudat ruled that it is not in the public's interest to grant bail to Theophile and Vidal and remanded the men in custody at the Dominica State Prison.

"There has been a wanton use and abuse of unlicensed firearm use to commit serious crimes in the state," the magistrate said. "This in itself poses a serious threat not only to public order but to the country's national security."

He advised the accused men that they are free to apply to the High Court for bail.

The matter was adjourned to December 5, 2022, for the preliminary inquiry.

-By Ronalda Luke