Magistrate Dr. Velon John granted bail to all five defendants accused of being involved in a cocaine trafficking operation after the Crown revealed Friday that it has six more witnesses and won’t be able to close its case anytime soon.
Jomo Jack, Hugh Erickson, Leon King, Gerry Freeman and James John are all charged with being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug and possessing proceeds of criminal conduct. Mr. John is also accused of importing cocaine.
Those charges were brought after police allegedly found 114 kilograms of the drug and $392,000 in cash, items which are said to have been found on the defendants.
Dr. John is leaving his post as magistrate on Nov. 28, and he has been pressing to complete the matter by then so it won’t need to be restarted under a new judge.
When the court was adjourned on Friday, he rescheduled it to resume on Nov. 5. But Mr. Jack’s lawyer, Hugh Wildman, is an attorney in Jamaica and said he won’t be available to come to the territory for the entire month of November.
The other defendants’ attorneys said they are available on Nov. 5, so as a solution the magistrate severed Mr. Jack’s trial from the others. Now, the trial for Messrs. Erickson, King, Freeman and John will resume on Nov. 5, and Mr. Jack will have to be retried at a future date when Mr. Wildman can return.
“This is no fault of Mr. Jack’s. It’s the Crown who hasn’t been able to produce the witnesses in time when the matter was supposed to conclude this week,” Mr. Wildman told the court. “Therefore, we’re asking for bail.”
Dr. John agreed, and granted bail to all five men. Mr. Jack was released on his own recognisance, and the bail for each of the other men was set at $1,000 with one surety.