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Dexter Chance’s case set for March

Dexter Chance’s case set for March

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The trial of three Vincentians on drug charges in the British Virgin Islands has been set to commence on March 21, 2011.{{more}}

During the trial of Vincentians Dexter Chance, Gareth McDowall and Carlos Sutherland, some 12 witnesses are expected to be called to give evidence.

On Wednesday, December 15, Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens ruled against applications made by two defense lawyers for her to recuse herself from the case involving some of the men fingered in the 2008 major drug bust. The defense lawyers are Stephen Daniels and Cheryl Rosan.

The Virgin Islands Platinum News reported that Stephens said no grounds have been submitted by the lawyers where she can recuse herself from the case. “Therefore, the application is denied. I will not recuse myself from this case,” she stated.

Daniels is representing the three Vincentians who were extradited to the BVI, and Dale Nibbs of the BVI. Rosan is representing Khoy Penn of the BVI. There are seven men charged in the case, and the other lawyers are Anthea Smith and Herbert McKenzie.

The lawyers in their application had argued that their clients would not be able to have a fair trial if Stephens hears the trial.

Daniels had submitted that Stephens ordered that the cocaine involved in the case be destroyed without his client having the opportunity to view the exhibits. This was after an order was made by High Court Judge Indra Hariprashad Charles for the matter to be stayed.

Stephens was also accused of showing bias against Rosan, who she had advised to seek advice from a senior counsel on the matter.

Meanwhile, in her ruling on Wednesday, the Virgin Islands Platinum News reported that Senior Magistrate said all the lawyers for the seven accused men were given an opportunity to view the drugs in the matter. However, Daniels objected to the viewing and stated in a correspondence that they can feel free to proceed without him.

Furthermore, Stephens said local Police authorities indicated to the court their concern regarding security issues with the drugs which was of a large quantity, and requested for it to be destroyed. To this end, Stephens said she sought permission from Judge Foster to destroy the drugs due to the security concerns.

According to Stephens, Judge Foster gave her permission to proceed to deal with the drugs in accordance with the Act, on the grounds of the security concerns raised. She said following this, on April 4, 2009, the drugs were destroyed in the presence of all the lawyers except Daniels.

Stephens said, therefore, she does not accept the application that she violated the stay order by Justice Charles.

In relation to her being biased during the trial, Stephens said it’s nothing more than a mere fancy fold possibility on the part of the lawyers.

The men are slapped with several charges including importation of cocaine from one of the Territory’s most popular drug bust. On January 23, 2008, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force seized and searched a chartered catamaran moored at Hodges Creek and found some 61 kilos of cocaine onboard the vessel.

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