By Latrishka Thomas
After the case against one of the men charged in a major drug bust at Deep Water Harbour this year was dismissed, his lawyer announced plans to take action against the police who charged his client without sufficient evidence.
“There was absolutely no evidence to substantiate any charge at all, not even a scintilla of evidence,” attorney Wendel Robinson told Observer yesterday after the six drug charges brought against Patrick Burrell were dropped.
In July, 48-year-old Burrell and 54-year-old Everton Fitzroy Pinnock were jointly charged with possession of 59.75 pounds of cannabis, drug trafficking, importation of cannabis, possession with intent to transfer, being concerned in the supply of cannabis, and conspiracy.
However, when the matter came up in St John’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Burrell, of Villa, was freed of the charges after he heard that — based on instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions – the police had not presented enough evidence against him.
“I intend to take a certain course of action against the police because within recent times a number of cases are coming before the court that lack evidence,” Robinson stated. “Unless action is taken against the police for deliberately arresting persons when there is no evidence to do so then, they won’t stop.”
Robinson also claimed that his client “bumped into 59 and ¾ pounds of cannabis which was found in three television boxes in the container”, and immediately reported the matter to a Customs officer.
The attorney also said that, in his opinion, “Patrick would be a useful witness in the matter; however, the police took the decision to charge Patrick for six [offences].”
“I always indicated to the court that the charges could not be sustained and that the police ought not to have charged him in the first place,” Robinson added.
The lawyer further revealed that the criminal matter has negatively affected his client.
“My client, Mr Burrell, was embarrassed as he’s a businessman … and many persons began to speculate both on social media and otherwise and it has caused my client and his family much pain in doing so,” he shared.
Burrell also told Observer that he spent the 23 years that he has lived in Antigua developing his business, but “my reputation tarnish in a second,” he said in disappointment.
The Jamaican native owns a mini supermarket and a tailor shop where he sews items for hotels and government departments on the island.
He said that because of the incident, one entity tried to revoke a contract given to him prior.
The man said that he has been working “morning, noon and night”, sometimes 12 hours a day.
His desire is to regain his reputation, he added.
“I just want to get my name back … no matter what you have, the only thing you have is your name,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the case against Burrell’s former co-accused, Pinnock, will proceed, with the committal hearing set for December 10.