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No-Show By Ag's Office Forces Assault Case Delay

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

THE Attorney General’s office is now prosecuting the case of a 19-year-old woman accused of assault and obstruction, a magistrate was told yesterday.

Dahene Nonord and her lawyer Fred Smith, QC appeared before Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans for the expected continuation of trial into the alleged assault and obstruction of immigration officer Avia Beckford while she was executing her duties on December 29, 2014.

Nonord, currently on $3,500 cash bail, has denied the offences and is defended by Smith, Romauld Ferreira and Adrian Gibson.

Mr Smith told the magistrate he had been informed of the Attorney General’s office being in possession of his client’s file, but could not speak to the specifics.

Police prosecutor Cpl Claudette McKenzie confirmed this was the case and that the Attorney General’s office would now be prosecuting.

“Why isn’t there anybody here to tell me that?” Magistrate Vogt-Evans asked.

The police prosecutor explained that her superiors were made aware of this. She then asked the court for an adjournment on behalf of the Attorney General’s office.

Mr Smith, however, said that the Crown’s absence was either “negligence or contempt of court” and asked the magistrate to dismiss the charges against his client for want of prosecution.

“She (Cpl McKenzie) has given no reason why you should exercise your discretion for the adjournment,” said Mr Smith, who pointed out that “the last time Ms Nonord was not here the court issued a bench warrant for her”.

“They should receive the same treatment. The court can’t issue a bench warrant for the AG’s office, but it can dismiss the matter,” the QC added, further expressing his surprise at the agency’s move “in the middle of the trial”.

Cpl McKenzie, however, countered that the Attorney General’s office had the legal right to take carriage of matters, before and/or during trial and emphasised that the police prosecution’s office was a branch within the agency.

Magistrate Vogt-Evans acknowledged the submissions made by Mr Smith and agreed that if the Attorney General’s office “saw fit to have the matter reviewed – one would’ve thought it would’ve been prudent for someone to appear before this court.”

Nonetheless, the magistrate did not accede to the request for a dismissal of the charges, but did adjourn the matter to July 27, “an adjourned date convenient to you (Mr Smith).”

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