State appeals dismissal of Alexander’s case

The Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) has filed an ap­peal over a mag­is­trate’s de­ci­sion to dis­miss an as­sault case against In­spec­tor Roger Alexan­der and PC Shel­don Mires.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that the ap­peal was filed in the Court of Ap­peal Reg­istry hours af­ter Mag­is­trate Nizam Khan dis­missed the charges against the duo be­cause pros­e­cu­tors from the DPP’s Of­fice at­tempt­ed to de­lay the start of the tri­al of the case for an eighth time, on Tues­day.

In the event that the DPP’s Of­fice wins the ap­peal, the charges can be re­in­sti­tut­ed against the of­fi­cers and the case would be heard be­fore a dif­fer­ent mag­is­trate.

If the ap­peal is dis­missed, it would clear the way for the of­fi­cers, who were sus­pend­ed by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) pend­ing the out­come of the case, to be re­in­stat­ed to ac­tive du­ty.

The TTPS would al­so de­cide if they can re­turn to their roles on its night­ly tele­vi­sion show Be­yond the Tape.

Pri­or to be­ing charged, Alexan­der co-host­ed the show, while Mires guest starred in the show’s crime pre­ven­tion seg­ment as a char­ac­ter who re­peat­ed­ly got caught com­mit­ting crimes.

A date for the hear­ing of the ap­peal is yet to be set by the Ap­peal Court.

Dur­ing the hear­ing be­fore Khan in the Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trate’s Court, on Tues­day, pros­e­cu­tor Anas­ta­sia Mc Meo re­quest­ed an ad­journ­ment as As­sis­tant DPP Tri­cia Hudlin-Coop­er and se­nior pros­e­cu­tor Mau­ri­ceia Joseph, who are as­signed to pros­e­cute the case.

She said her col­leagues were pre­sent­ing sub­mis­sions in the Court of Ap­peal.

How­ev­er, she could not ex­plain why Hudlin-Coop­er and Joseph failed to in­form the court and the of­fi­cers’ de­fence at­tor­neys of their ab­sence.

Khan then gave her an op­por­tu­ni­ty to open the State’s case and be­gin lead­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny of two of the State’s wit­ness­es. Al­though the wit­ness­es were present for the hear­ing, the pros­e­cu­tor was un­will­ing to do so in her su­pe­ri­ors’ ab­sence.

Mc Meo al­so could not give an ac­count of a third wit­ness, who had missed pre­vi­ous hear­ings of the case due to ill­ness.

In con­sid­er­ing an im­promp­tu ap­pli­ca­tion to dis­miss the case from the duo’s at­tor­neys, Khan said he bal­anced the se­ri­ous na­ture of the charges, the pub­lic’s in­ter­est in the case and the nu­mer­ous times pros­e­cu­tors sought ad­journ­ments due to is­sues with track­ing down wit­ness­es.

“The State can­not drag on the mat­ter like this for­ev­er,” Khan said.

The charges arose out of an in­ci­dent near Christo­pher Charles’ home at San­ta Cruz Old Road in Ju­ly 2016.

Charles re­port­ed the in­ci­dent to po­lice but de­cid­ed to file pri­vate crim­i­nal charges. The DPP’s Of­fice in­ter­vened and took over the pros­e­cu­tion of the case.

Alexan­der and Mires were ac­cused of as­sault­ing Charles with in­tent to cause him ac­tu­al bod­i­ly harm. Mires was fac­ing an ad­di­tion­al charge for com­mit­ting com­mon as­sault.

Alexan­der is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Gilbert Pe­ter­son, SC, and Lee Mer­ry, while John Heath is rep­re­sent­ing Mires.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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