Police Officer Michael Laudat
Police Officer Michael Laudat

Salisbury man denied bail for attempted murder

Jefferson Casimir, brother of the Parliamentary Representative for the Salisbury constituency, Hector John, 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, 34, 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 offence. He stated, the alleged crime was committed with the use of a firearm and the police had not yet recovered the weapon.

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, defence 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 a bus driver 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 daily bases for transportation," Marsh said.

Marsh said 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 severly injuried. In this situation not even a fly was hurt and the liberty of this man who has never been convicted of any crime a day is being asked to be taken away from him" he said.

"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 defence 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," Carrette-George said.

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).

19-year-old charged for St. Joseph police station arson

Niguel Anthony, a 19-year-old male from St. Joseph is now on remand at the Dominica State Prison following a charge of arson preferred against him by the police.

During the wee hours of September 12, 2022, a certain section of the St. Joseph police station as well as the police vehicle for that station were allegedly set ablaze.

Following investigations by the police, Anthony was arrested, charged and appeared before the Roseau Magistrate court where the charge was read to him.

The accused was not required to enter a plea since the charge of arson is an indictable offence and is expected to be tried at the High Court of Justice before a judge and jury. At the hearing, Police Prosecutor Inspector Laville, did not object to bail but requested that such be granted with a proper surety.

Presiding magistrate Michael Laudat set the bail sum at $50,000; however, Anthony was unable to present a suitable surety to the court and was consequently remanded in custody at the Dominica State Prison until such time.

Preliminary Inquiry (PI) in the matter is set for January 26, 2023, at the St. Joseph Magistrate court to determine if there is enough evidence in the matter to be tried at the High Court.

-By Ronalda Luke