By LAMECH JOHNSON ljohnson@tribunemedia.net THE ruling on the discharge or arraignment of three men suspected in a $500,000 extortion attempt was delayed in Magistrate's Court. Shakatoure Thompson, 23, Robert Smith Jr, 24, and Robert Smith Sr, 61, appeared before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez yesterday to learn whether or not he would dismiss the charge against them or allow it to proceed in a preliminary inquiry. It is alleged that the three men, between September 12 and October 17, 2010, attempted to extort half a million dollars from Todd Culmer. They had appeared in Court One, Bank Lane before the chief magistrate on Tuesday afternoon. However, before their arraignment could commence, defence attorneys Ian Cargill and Krysta Smith argued that the indictment was taking place past the date set by the statute of limitations. It, therefore, was not properly before the courts. The prosecution countered that the law made provisions for a Magistrate to proceed with a pre-trial in circumstances where police ran out of time for their investigations. Chief Magistrate Gomez had delayed the matter to yesterday morning to make a decision. He granted Smith Sr a bond of $5,000 while remanding the two accused to prison after prosecution informed the court that Smith Jr and Thompson, with pending charges already before the courts, had breached bail conditions. However, when the accused returned to court yesterday, the matter was adjourned to January 10 in Court Five, Bank Lane, where the charges were initially supposed to be have been dealt with. In the meantime, the chief magistrate told Smith Jr and Thompson that they would be granted the same bond as their co-defendant. However, he added that they were going to be attached to the electronic monitoring system. Before these charges, Smith Jr had been on bail, granted by the Supreme Court last July, 10 days after he had been charged with the June 17 shooting death of Winfield Smith. He also had an outstanding warrant of arrest from Court Six, where his second charge of car theft is continuing. Thompson had also been on bail after he had been charged last September in connection with an armed robbery at the Island Luck web cafe, Carmichael Road. He also has a possession of dangerous drugs case before the courts. The two men, with Smith Sr, will return to court on Tuesday, January 10, before Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis in Court Five at the new Magistrate's Court complex, Nassau Street.


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