A police sergeant the media was asked not to name testified in Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he believes Tambu Frett is part of a human trafficking organisation and received payment for smuggling Bryan Boland into this territory from the United States Virgin Islands on April 3.
This testimony emerged as the sergeant submitted evidence to court and was cross-examined by Leroy Jones, Mr. Frett’s lawyer, as part of an ongoing Newton hearing.
Described as a “trial within a trial” by Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards, the Newton hearing is intended to settle the question of whether Mr. Frett was involved in a smuggling organisation, an allegation Mr. Jones adamantly denies.
Mr. Jones also maintained that the sergeant’s evidence was submitted unfairly, as it was introduced to court proceedings after Mr. Frett pleaded guilty to smuggling, breach of curfew, and illegal entry after being arrested aboard a boat with Mr. Boland on April 3.
In court yesterday, the sergeant presented an “association chart” that he claimed mapped the hierarchy of a criminal organisation.
“It was apparent to me when I was reading WhatsApp chats and listening to WhatsApp voice notes that Mr. Frett and [an associate] reported to [another associate], and he appeared to be directing them in their duties,” the sergeant said.
Pressed by Mr. Jones on whether the evidence compiled references Mr. Frett discussing money in exchange for transport from the USVI to the VI, the sergeant responded, “My exhibits include several conversations which clearly detail money.”
Specifically, the sergeant pointed to a conversation where the accused and an acquaintance talk about owed money totalling $300.
Mr. Jones asked the sergeant if he could explain why the $300 was owed, but Crown Counsel O’Neal Simpson objected.
“I’m uncertain … as to whether or not my learned friend is trying to make submissions in the middle of his cross-examination,” Mr. Simpson said, adding, “My learned friend knows full well the remittent purview of his cross examination and its purpose: I would invite my learned friend to stick to it.”
Pursuing a different line of questioning, Mr. Jones then asked the sergeant if he had evidence of any discussion about money on the day of Mr. Frett’s arrest, to which the sergeant replied in the negative.
Mr. Jones then asked the sergeant if there were other mentions of money in the compiled evidence, and the sergeant replied in the affirmative.
The sergeant said evidence shows that on Feb. 16 Mr. Frett exchanged messages regarding prices with a contact listed in his phone as “Joker,” two days after Mr. Frett had directed “Joker” to contact another of his associates and tell him he is in need of a ride.
According to the sergeant, Mr. Frett told “Joker” to “call him around 9 o’clock, and he should … let you know what going on. Ask him the price, everything.”
Mr. Simpson asked Ms. Richards to instruct the media not to identify the sergeant, and she agreed.
The hearing was ongoing as the Beacon went to press yesterday afternoon