TWO men on bail, one from the Supreme Court on a murder charge, spent the night behind bars at Her Majesty's Prison accused of breaching bail conditions.

The denial of overnight bail and a remand ruling against Robert Smith Jr, 24, and Shakatoure Thompson, 23, by Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez yesterday afternoon came after prosecution revealed that the two had pending cases before the courts before their latest alleged offence, which was attempted extortion of $500,000.

The two men, with their co-defendant Robert Smith Sr, 61, were expected to be charged in connection with an attempt to extort half a million dollars from Todd Culmer. It is alleged that the offence, according to court dockets, occurred between September 12 and October 17, 2010.

However, Chief Magistrate Gomez delayed the arraignment to consider whether to arraign or dismiss charges against the accused after listening to submissions by the prosecution and defence counsel.

The reason for the adjournment to this morning was because the men were charged in connection with a crime more than six months after the alleged offence was committed.

Before the charge could be read to the accused, Ian Cargill, defence counsel for Thompson, argued that the matter was brought to the courts after the statute of limitations.

He acknowledged that even though the Criminal Procedure Code makes provisions for a magistrate to choose to proceed otherwise, it cannot proceed to the Supreme Court by a Voluntary Bill of Indictment.

"If it's out of time, it has to go by a preliminary inquiry he said."

Krysta Smith, appearing for the co-accused, adopted the submissions made by Mr Cargill and further asked the Chief Magistrate to dismiss the charge.

Her reasoning was that it "is not properly before the court" and police had more than enough time to investigate and bring the matter to the courts.

The prosecution acknowledged that "the matter is out of time" but emphasized that the law allowed a Magistrate to proceed with a pre-trial in circumstances where the police run out of time on their investigation.

Chief Magistrate Gomez proposed an adjournment to review the history concerning such cases before making a decision.

On the issue of police bail raised by the defence that had been promised, but "not executed," the prosecution explained that the police were not in a position to give bail on the basis that two of the accused were already on bail for pending matters before the courts.

It was revealed that Smith Jr, who had been charged in connection with the June 17 shooting death of Winfield Smith last July, had been granted bail in the Supreme Court July 17, a little more than a week after being charged.

Smith Jr also has an outstanding warrant of arrest from Court Six, where his second charge of car theft is still continuing.

Thompson, also on bail, 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 and housebreaking case before the courts.

Mr Cargill called the move by the prosecution "very unfair" and said that "if this matter had been ventilated from 2010, it wouldn't have been a problem."

He claimed that justice was denied to his client. Ms Smith agreed with Mr Cargill and said that "a pending matter is not a conviction" and that her client "is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

She said that she was confident that further investigations would produce no evidence against her client.

Chief Magistrate Gomez agreed that it was unfair in the circumstances, but said that "we're still faced with rules."

He granted Smith Sr a $5,000 bond with a surety and remanded his son and co-accused to Her Majesty's Prison. They return to Court One, Bank Lane at 10 o'clock this morning.


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