By Latrishka Thomas
The committal hearing for the four individuals charged with the murder of Bruce Greenaway was adjourned yesterday until November 25, due to the police file being incomplete.
Jason Modeste, a 44-year-old police officer, along with three members of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force – Shakiel Thomas, 25, Armal Warner, 20, and Aliyah Martin, 20 – appeared before Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edwards to find out if there is enough evidence to send their case up to the High Court.
But having heard that the file was still incomplete, two of the lawyers in the case — Andrew O’Kola who represents Warner and Thomas, and Wendel Robinson who represents Modeste — bore down on the prosecution for having not disclosed what information they have to date.
O’Kola argued that withholding material goes against the rule of law and therefore requested the magistrate to order the prosecution to share the file, even though it may be incomplete.
“It should not be a situation where it is charge first and investigate later,” he said claiming that the situation was not fair.
The magistrate, however, said that she could only repeat a general order for disclosure, because it is for the prosecution to decide if they wish to share their file in pieces.
Robinson then reminded the court that about five months has elapsed since the investigation was launched.
“I shudder to think that the investigation is still ongoing in a situation where four persons have already been charged,” he said.
Modeste’s lawyer then suggested that a “trial by ambush” is in effect because information is being leaked.
Robinson argued that media reports suggested that a file from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was leaked regarding the quartet being charged.
“We don’t want innocent persons to be incarcerated,” he declared.
Magistrate Emanuel-Edwards directed the lawyer to air his concerns in the High Court should the matter be committed.
Greenaway’s lifeless body was found at Indian Creek on April 13, a few days after his family reported him missing.
According to reports, the father-of-two was last seen in the company of soldiers before he went missing.
An autopsy revealed that the Falmouth man was strangled.
The four defendants made their first court appearance in early June in All Saints Magistrate’s Court and were remanded to prison despite a request from lawyer Lawrence Daniels — who at the time represented all four — to have them held elsewhere for their safety.
Three of the law enforcement personnel subsequently applied to the High Court for bail.
Warner and Martin were the first two to apply for bail. However, after a lengthy hearing before Justice Iain Morley on June 25, this was denied.
Thomas tried his luck on July 5 but his application for temporary release was also rejected by the same judge.The last co-accused in the matter, Modeste, did not apply for bail.
Attorney Daniels, who was not present at yesterday’s hearing, is now advocating for Martin only.
Also present was Gail Christian, the legal representative for the family of the deceased.