Omar Archer during a previous appearance at court.
By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER political candidate Omar Archer Sr had bail reinstated for his pending criminal libel case yesterday.
The 45-year-old Nassau Village resident and his lawyers - Martin Lundy, Barry Sawyer, Maria Daxon, and Akeira Martin - appeared before Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs for a bail hearing related to the pending intentional libel charge brought against him in September 2015.
However, the hearing was brief as prosecutors Stephanie Pintard and Anya Allen offered no objection to Archer’s bail being reinstated.
The Crown only asked that the previous conditions of the $9,000 bond be allowed to continue in which the accused reports to the East Street South Police Station every Friday on/or before 6pm and allows his passport to remain in the Supreme Court until the case is completed.
The judge granted the application and Crown’s request and further warned Archer not to have any contact with witnesses connected to the case or make any comments on social media about the person who brought the complaint against him.
“So Mr Archer you need to show up for your trial,” the judge concluded.
“Yes m’lord,” Archer replied.
On April 4, Archer was brought to the Nassau and South Streets Magistrate’s Court Complex concerning an arrest warrant stemming from his case regarding posts against a woman on his Facebook page in April 2015.
The complainant denied the claims when the case started in November 2016, and the matter was adjourned to December 29, 2016 for Archer to present his defence, but he did not appear resulting in a warrant of arrest being issued for him.
When he was brought back to court on April 4, Archer apologised for his non-appearance, which he attributed to a sprained ankle. However, he was still remanded to the Department of Correctional Services by Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis.
When his libel case was called on April 11, lead lawyer Fred Smith, QC, raised a constitutional issue and Mr Smith was given until April 18 to file the requisite documents concerning his client’s challenge to the case against him.
The magistrate said the question of bail had to be decided by the Supreme Court and that the accused would remain in custody until the Supreme Court decides otherwise.
That same day, a notice of motion was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration from the court that the charge, prosecution, trial, liability to conviction and sentence to a fine and or imprisonment of up to two years for the offence of intentional libel, are “void, illegal and of no effect” as they breach Archer’s constitutional right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 23(1) of the Constitution.
It further asked Magistrate Rolle-Davis to dismiss or quash the proceedings against Archer and declare that Section 315 (2) of the Penal Code, which provides for the offence of criminal intentional libel, is unconstitutional. This would effectively remove the offence from the country’s law books.
Archer’s case in Magistrate’s Court has been adjourned to June 21.
Sgt Lakisia Moss is the prosecutor.