Businessman gets bail in Parham shooting case

The businessman accused of shooting a mentally ill man was granted $60,000 bail in the High Court on Thursday.
The representatives from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions did not offer any objections to bail being granted to Bertsfield Smithen when he appeared before Justice Keith Thom.

The defendant was ordered to deposit $10,000 to secure his immediately release. He was further ordered to report to the Willikies Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until the matter is concluded or until the court orders otherwise.

The Carty Hill businessman who owns and operates Ounces Ice Cream Parlour and Grill in Parham was further ordered to surrender all his travel documents and told he should not interfere directly or indirectly with any of the witnesses.

The accused was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison on Wednesday when he made his first court appearance in the All Saints Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel charged with shooting with intent to murder and shooting with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

However, since the magistrate does not have jurisdiction to grant bail for gun offences, bail had to be sought in the higher court.

Reports indicate that on September 14 at about 9 p.m. Aiden “Muscle” Russell walked into the business place at Parham and allegedly confronted the owner, Smithen, threatening to kill him.

There was a confrontation and Smithen was reportedly struck on the head while Russell was shot twice in the stomach, allegedly by Smithen who is said to be the holder of a licensed firearm. Both men were transported to hospital and Russell underwent surgery for damage to his liver.

Russell’s sister, Gweneth Russell said her brother is mostly unresponsive and remains in an unconscious state.
Smithen would have to return to court on January 9, 2019, for committal proceedings where the magistrate will determine whether the prosecution has sufficient cause to send the matter to the High Court for a criminal trial.

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