Director of Public Prosecution Christopher Nelson has appealed for calm so that the proceeding against the five men accused of manslaughter in the death of Oscar Bartholomew, can go ahead unhindered.
His call comes as another angry crowd gathered in front of the St. David Magistrate Court which is adjoining the Police Station, chanting “no justice no peace”.
Nelson said he argued that the men be kept on remand at the Richmond Prison not only because of the crime they have been accused of but because of concern for their safety, and the safety of the public.
“I argued against bail on a number of grounds; the fact that it is a usual matter, that there is a risk of public disorder, and that there is a risk of possible harm to the accused persons,” Nelson told local media.
“The atmosphere is very charged so my view was that passions should be allowed to cool so that the risk of public disorder and harm to the accused persons is averted.”
However the DPP said he respects Magistrate Nevlyn John’s decision to grant bail and he is satisfied that there are a number of stringent conditions attached to it.
“However, the decision is that of her worship, and in exercising her discretion, in balancing all the factors to be considered, she was of the view that bail should be granted effective the 13th and I respect that decision,” Nelson said.
The DPP made an appeal for public calm.
He said he understands how sensitive the matter is, particularly for the family and for the people of St. David adding that “we ought to appreciate that we operate in a democracy and that law and order must be allowed to prevail”.
He cautioned that the administration of justice could be affected by what he calls “inappropriate public reaction”.
“We would like to proceed expeditiously with this trial, but I need to caution that undue public reaction…attempts by the media or social media to label and brand and judge these accused persons, would only hinder the due administration of justice.”
The five accused men have been granted bail of EC$100,000 each with surety of Title Deeds. They are to report to a Police Station weekly between the hours of 9am and 4pm, except the St. David’s Police Station. They are surrender all their travel documents to the Criminal Investigation Department and they information is to be submitted to all embassies and police agencies world-wide.©