Senior Magistrate Michael Laudat has denied bail to Achim George who is charged with “attempted Murder.”
His lawyers Dawn Yearwood Stewart and Wayne Norde told the court that it was in the public’s interest to grant bail to Achim George notwithstanding the fact that there is a rise in firearm-related offences in the country.
However, the prosecution told the court that the defendant was convicted of a firearm-related offense in 2022 and pursuant to the Bail Act is “no longer entitled to bail as a right.”
In reviewing the comments put forward to the Court by the Defense and the Prosecution, Magistrate Laudat stated that “On hearing the application for the grant of bail, the court is required to proceed on the assumption that there is a presumption in favour of the grant of bail and this is the presumption of “innocence which has its underpinning in the Constitution.”
The Court he said “must also proceed on the basis that there is a presumption in favour of the grant of bail.”
“In determining whether to grant bail or not, the Court when using its discretionary power, must look at the risk of the Defendant absconding bail and the necessity of preserving public order. The Court cannot operate in a vacuum and must be in a position to observe and take judicial notice of the important factors and incidents affecting and plaguing communities around the state,” the Magistrate stated.
“There has been an upsurge of crime and violence in Dominica recently which has resulted in a public outcry for the protection of our communities. Last week, firearm-related violence occurred almost within the precinct of the Court which resulted in the death of two individuals. The Court noted that crime and violence normally affect the fabric of the society and can pose a serious threat to public order within the communities.”
The Court has concluded, that it is not satisfied that the appropriate circumstances exist to justify the granting of bail. There is too much violence within the Dominican communities and it is not in the public’s interest to grant bail to the accused who has been charged with a firearm-related offense and therefore, his application is accordingly not granted.
Bail for the accused is not granted and the accused is remanded in custody. If there is a change of circumstances, the Defense is free to make another application for the grant of bail or the Defense is also free to make an application to the High Court in respect of bail.
The Court pursuant to Section 14 of the Bail Act will provide reasons for denying bail to the accused. The reasons will be made available to the accused and the prosecution.