Monday, August 8, 2022
Monday, August 8, 2022
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Attorney Kay Bacchus-Baptiste says she disagrees with Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett ruling that he does not have the jurisdiction to rule on the defence’s application for the proceedings in the sedition matter involving prison officer Kenson King, to be permanently stayed.

Bacchus-Baptiste, the lead lawyer in the matter, was speaking to THE VINCENTIAN on Wednesday, shortly after the Senior Magistrate declined jurisdiction to rule on the application, contending that the legal issues raised by the defence were issues for the High Court. Attorney Ronnia Durham-Balcombe is also part of King’s legal team.

Bacchus-Baptiste told THE VINCENTIAN that she intends to take the matter to a higher level, but was awaiting the written version of the Magistrate’s conclusion at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, after he read the written submissions by the defence and the Prosecution.

Burnett assured Bacchus-Baptiste that he would make the written version of his conclusion available to the defence.

The lawyer had said that she would need it as she intends to appeal.

In April this year, the defence, led by Bacchus-Baptiste, submitted that, “It is the defendant’s contention that in the circumstances, prosecuting him will be an abuse of process, on the ground that his constitutional right of freedom, or personal liberty under section 3 of the SVG constitution has been violated, and that his statutory right, under section 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 172 of the Laws of SVG, revised edition 2009, to be brought before the Court within 48 hours of his detention, has been breached”. 

The lawyers also submitted that King’s right to station bail under Section 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code was breached by his prolonged detention in a cell at the Central Police Station.

According to the defence, the charges against King are of colonial application, and is an affront to his constitutional right to freedom of expression under section 10 of the constitution.

The lawyers highlighted, in their submissions, “the egregious acts of executive misconduct where the defendant’s rights were violated by the state machinery, i.e. the police, who after their unlawful and aggressive conduct, seeks to prosecute him”.

The defence cited a number of cases to support their arguments.

The Prosecution, in their submissions, stated that while the court has the power to grant a stay of proceedings on the issue of abuse of process, the matters raised by the defence are not matters which will impact on the fairness of the trial, but are matters related to his constitutional rights, which are issues for the High Court, and not the Magistrate’s Court.

But the defence had responded, in writing stating that the cases the defence cited showed that there are various circumstances that constitute oppression and abuse, and it is not limited to where the fairness of the trial is in question.

After the Senior Magistrate declined his court’s jurisdiction to rule on the application, he adjourned the substantive matter to August 31.

King is charged with, that on December 19, 2021 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, did utter seditious words, to wit: “There is no longer any peace in St. Vincent. This is war, eh. This right now is war. We are in a war, and in a war there are casualties. We need to make some casualties, one way or the other because they are already casualties on our side. There are already casualties on our side, moles? Stamp out the moles ah them too”.

King is also charged with that on the same date, uttered seditious words, to wit: “You see you Mrs. Medford, you should be afraid to come out of your house right now, they playing with alyo Vincentian, they are playing with alyo, me alone can’t do it, me alone ain’t do it because if it left to me alone, and I could get what is needed. I know by today they would have been looking to pull back them stuff dey. All like Sister Medford ah them need to just disappear”. 

He is additionally charged with, that on the same date, uttered seditious language, to wit, “Alyo should have the foundation ah St. Vincent shaking right now and all ah them wondering what’s next. Some serious anarchy should be happening in St. Vincent until we have proper decent people running SVG in the form of Dr. Friday and his team”.

The charges are said to have stemmed from statements King allegedly made on Facebook in December, 2021.

King was charged in March 2022. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 28, 2022, and has maintained his innocence.

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