Policemen charged with manslaughter released on bail

Two of the five police officers accused of manslaughter in the death of Grenadian Canadian resident Oscar Bartholomew, have been officially released on bail.

Ruddy Felix and Edward Gibson met the bail requirements within the stipulated time and are no longer in police custody.

Felix is being represented by attorney Anslem Clouden while Gibson is being represented by former Attorney General Queens Council Francis Alexis.

Lawyer Cajeton Hood is representing Shaun Ganness, Kenton Hazzard and Wendell Sylvester. However, attempts to reach Hood to verify the status of his clients have proved futile.

Today the five men, their lawyers and the sureties went before presiding Magistrate Nevlyn John to present the stipulated documents and money for bail.

A small crowd of curious onlookers were once again disappointed as the men were brought to court very early in the morning and were kept inside until the crowd had dispersed.

There were no forms of protest neither were there any police barricades as was the case when the men made their first two appearances.

When the accused appeared before Magistrate John last Friday they were granted bail with a slew of stiff conditions. The bail was to take effect today Friday 13th January, 2012, once the conditions were met.

The conditions for bail included a cash down payment of one hundred thousand Eastern Caribbean Dollars (Can $38,000.00) each, plus two Property Deeds of Title valued in excess of one hundred thousand dollars. They are to surrender all travel documents including their National Insurance Card, which can be used to travel through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The accused men have been charged by the court to present themselves to any police station, except the St. David Police Station, at least once per week between the hours of 9am and 4pm local time. They were also told that they are not to make contact with or intimidate any of the witnesses, directly or through an agent.

Additionally, their photographs and details are to be sent to regional and international police agencies and embassies.

Anslem Clouden, lawyer for accused Ruddy Felix says he is confident that his client and the others charged with him would adhere to the conditions that were set out by the court.

“They being police officers are trained in the law and I have no doubt that they would adhere to the conditions as set by the magistrate,” Clouden said.

Director of Public Prosecution Christopher  Nelson, who argued against the granting of bail to the accused citing possible civil unrest and danger to the accused, says he respects the decision of the Magistrate and is satisfied with the level of the bail conditions.

“I respect that decision…several conditions have been attached to bail to ensure that the accused persons do not abscond, that they turn up to the trial and to ensure that law and order is maintained,” DPP Nelson said.

The funeral for Oscar Bartholomew, the man alleged to have been beaten into a coma by the accused on Boxing Day was held on Monday and was attended by his wife, stepdaughter, mother, siblings and relatives. There were hundreds of people attending in  support of the family, including Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell and Commissioner of Police Wilan Thompson.

The accused are to make another court appearance at the St. David’s Magistrate Court on Friday 27th January. ©

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