By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
DWIGHT Major's upcoming drug trial will be heard before Deputy Chief Magistrate Subsola Swain starting November 8.
The decision was made yesterday by Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, who had the matter submitted to her court for reassignment last week.
Ian Cargill, Major's attorney, in an application early last month, requested that Magistrate Samuel McKinney recuse himself from the case on the grounds that the accused's son, Ravon Major, had been involved in a somewhat contentious relationship with a relative of the judge.
Mr Cargill told the court he was made aware of the relationship only after the matter had commenced and, following consultation with his client, determined it would be best to have the case transferred away from Magistrate McKinney's court.
In presenting his decision last week, Magistrate McKinney said the court must act in a manner in which its justice could not be questioned or viewed with a level of doubt. He further indicated that he, in the days between the request for recusal and his decision, became aware of some connection between the accused's son and one of his relatives.
Meanwhile, before reassigning the case yesterday, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt expressed a level of concern over Magistrate McKinney's decision, asserting she was of the view that the decision for recusal was "not grounded in law".
In a brief back and forth with Major's attorney, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said she remains of the view that Magistrate McKinney "ought not have recused himself" given the particulars of the request for recusal.
She said she had followed the matter by the coverage in local dailies, and based on what she has read, she found no reason for the recusal.
Major, 50, is on trial for one count each of conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply and possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
According to police, shortly before 4am on Wednesday, April 4, Drug Enforcement Unit officers assisted by Mobile Division officers, while at Tonique Williams-Darling Highway and Baillou Hill Road, stopped and searched a Nissan March with two male occupants and discovered 283 pounds of marijuana. The two men were taken into custody. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Major will now stand trial with his co-accused.
Both men will appear in court on November 8.