By LAMECH JOHNSON
THREE men, two charged with murder and the other attempted murder, are behind bars at Her Majesty's Prison waiting to be brought before the courts in the next three months.
The men, ages 27, 22 and 21, were remanded in custody after they were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez in connection with four incidents. Two of them were killings that took place on holidays. The latest one being on New Year's Day, the country's first homicide for the year.
On Friday afternoon, Gerald Rolle, 27, was charged in connection with the stabbing death of 28-year-old Godfrey McPhee.
On Sunday, January 1, around 11.45pm, the victim was stabbed outside his apartment on St Michael Road, off Prince Charles Drive. He died of his injuries in hospital.
Rolle was not allowed to enter a plea to the charge due to the nature of the offence and was informed he would be served with a Voluntary Bill of Indictment (VBI) on March 14. The Bill will fast track the case to the Supreme Court for trial, bypassing a lengthy preliminary inquiry.
The accused, who was represented by Gregory Hilton, was remanded into custody until that time.
Before leaving court, the accused told Chief Magistrate Gomez that a "gentleman" seated during the proceedings had threatened him before leaving.
He said: "A gentleman walked out and looked at me and said I'd be dealt with."
The chief magistrate told the accused that he could file a complaint with the police.
The second accused to be charged with murder was 22-year-old Ormond Leon.
Prosecution alleges he is the other man responsible for the 2011 Independence Day shooting death of Francisco Hanna at Wilson Tract.
Leon joins Dennis Mather in prison, who was already arraigned in connection with the crime last year. However, he was also charged with attempted murder and robbery.
It is claimed that on November 16, 2011, Leon made an attempt on Jerome Joseph's life, and on Thursday, January 5, he robbed Philip Johnson of a $400 gold chain.
Leon was not required to enter a plea to any of the charges brought against him and was told that two VBI's would be served against him.
Before being remanded into custody, he requested to be examined by a doctor. Leon further claimed that police brutalised him in an attempt to get a statement.
Chief Magistrate Gomez said he could not say whether the allegations of police brutality were true or not but said that "this court doesn't condone anyone being beaten".
Before both of these men were arraigned, a 21-year-murder accused granted bail last year was arraigned on charges of attempted murder and causing harm.
Rashad Paul, who had been charged in 2010 with the shooting death of Brendamae Johnson and attempted killings of Burton Sands and Latario Morley, was arraigned in connection with a shooting at a night club off Nassau Street on December 12, 2011. Gregory Miller had been wounded in that incident.
He was further charged with causing harm to Anton Coakley on September 29. Paul pleaded not guilty to this charge, though he was not required to enter a plea to the charge of attempted murder. He also will be served with a VBI and he was remanded into custody.
AN ATTORNEY representing a man arraigned on three firearm possession charges in Magistrate's Court will address the gun court today.
Gregory Hilton, defence attorney for Anwar Smith, 28, of Garden Hills, will ask Magistrate Joyanne Ferguson-Pratt to allow three of the alleged victims of the crimes to testify that the charges brought by police against his client are false.
Prosecution alleges that Smith, on Wednesday, January 4, was in possession of a handgun with intent to put Mural Agustine, Lynda Agustine and Velande Gerlin in fear of their lives. It is further claimed he caused nearly $800 worth of damage to a 2000 Honda Civic belonging to one of the complainants.
The accused was arraigned last Friday and was not required to enter a plea. He was also informed that during today's hearing, he would know if the prosecution intended to fast track the case to the Supreme Court for trial.
Mr Hilton told the court that the complainants had only made one complaint at CDU concerning the accused, and that was in relation to the fourth charge of causing vehicle damage.
Accordingly, Mr Hilton said the complainants were outside the courtroom prepared to testify if given the chance.
"How can police lay charges against persons and not verify them with the complainants?" he asked.
Chief Magistrate Gomez expressed alarm at the claim, saying that "these are some very serious accusations."