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Magistrate recuses himself from DeFreitas case

Magistrate recuses himself from DeFreitas case

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For the second time in two days, magistrate Bertie Pompey has recused himself from a matter which was before him at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.{{more}}

When radio station proprietor Douglas DeFreitas appeared before the magistrate on Tuesday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, Pompey recused himself, saying he has a civil matter in which DeFreitas is involved.

DeFreitas has been charged with making a false statement which was likely to cause fear or alarm or to disturb the peace. It is alleged that on December 10, the day after the 2015 general elections, DeFreitas made the following statement on his radio station: “I have just had confirmation that six of the ballots were unsealed and one missing. Six of the ballots were unsealed and one missing. It means that something went on down there in the polling station and we are calling for by-elections by Monday. We want by-election; we don’t want… And I want the leadership to the NDP to find some transportation, get supporters to go down there and to get into place, please and persons who can go on their own, go down there and support Exeter on this matter.”

During DeFreitas’ court appearance on Tuesday, Maia Eustace, who was holding for lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, made an application for the matter to be adjourned, so that Bacchus-Browne could be present.

Before granting the adjournment, Pompey recused himself.

“I recuse myself from this matter because I have a civil matter with Mr DeFreitas,” he said.

The matter has been transferred to the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court for a hearing on September 13. Karim Nelson leads the prosecution for the Crown.

On Monday, Pompey recused himself from hearing a case in which politician Benjamin Exeter and student Shabazzaah George are charged with assault and resisting arrest; and obstruction and possession of an offensive weapon respectively, after defence lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne asked that he step aside because of real or apparent bias.

Pompey is a retired deputy commissioner of police and Bacchus – Browne said that Pompey, the prosecutor in the matter and the witnesses all served in the police force together.(CA)

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