By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO men believed to be members of the ‘One Order’ gang by the victim of a $6,000 hold-up had their armed robbery case discontinued in the Supreme Court yesterday.
Prosecutors Darell Taylor and Desiree Ferguson presented a nolle prosequi to Justice Vera Watkins, signed by the Attorney General, asking that the case against 21-year-old Valentino Bastian and 40-year-old Charles Panday be discontinued.
The Tribune understands that the virtual complainant refused to testify in court if it was not done through video conferencing claiming he feared for his life.
Valentino Bastian, of Kennedy Subdivision and Charles Panday, of Malcolm Road, being allegedly concerned together, faced a single charge of armed robbery.
It had been claimed that armed with a firearm on March 29, 2011, they robbed a man of his 1997 Honda Accord, an iPhone, iPad, a 5gbz external hard dive and $500 cash, altogether valued at $6,200.
Both men had denied the charges.
On Monday, the prosecution made an application to the judge to have its witness give evidence through a television link and provided a sworn affidavit with reasons for the request.
However, the judge, in a ruling The Tribune obtained, dismissed the application on the basis that there was no indication or evidence to suggest the alleged victim in the case “may be in jeopardy should he appear in court to give evidence.”
Paragraphs 7, 8, and 9 of the affidavit were highlighted in that ruling before the judge’s decision on their merit.
“I have been informed and I believe that ‘John Doe’ [his real name withheld] has indicated that he was informed, and believe that the accused men are members of the notorious ‘One Order’ gang. In the circumstances, he is in fear for his life in coming to court.
“I am informed and believe that Mr Valentino Bastian has not been convicted of any criminal offence in the Bahamas.
“I am informed and believe that the court may take judicial notice of the numerous convictions of Charles Panday. Included in those convictions are convictions for the following: Unlawfully carrying arms (October 2, 1991); possession of ammunition (July 17, 1998); possession of unlicensed firearm (October 22, 2004).”
The judge’s response to paragraph seven is that “there is no information as to who the members of the ‘One Order’ gang are.
“The court has no information on the article of association or purpose of this organisation. There is no information with respect to the activities of the organisation. There is no basis for the court to arrive at any decisions with respect to this organisation.
“It follows, therefore, that the court cannot find ‘John Doe’ is a vulnerable person, as contemplated by the schedule merely because ‘John Doe’ believes that the accused men are members of the notorious ‘One Order’ gang.’”
Regarding paragraph eight, Justice Watkins noted that not only were the defendants denied the opportunity to rebut the assertion because of the lateness of the application, “assuming the information is correct, the prosecution has not provided any information to suggest that the incident at Parkgate and Village Road was in any way connected to other matters before any courts in the Bahamas.”
The judge made note of the antecedents of Charles Panday laid out in paragraph nine.
“I note however, that defendant Panday has not been convicted of any offences involving the use of or discharging firearms.”
She also noted in addition to there being no indication of the complainant ever being threatened by Charles Panday, the defendant was also never convicted of “threats of harm to the person, causing the death of another person, causing harm to another person or assaulting another person.”
The judge dismissed the application on the basis that there was no indication or evidence to suggest that the alleged victim in the case “may be in jeopardy should he appear in court to give evidence.”
Charles Panday is awaiting trial for other offences and was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison, Fox Hill.