The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has filed an appeal over a magistrate’s decision to dismiss an assault case against Inspector Roger Alexander and PC Sheldon Mires.
Guardian Media understands that the appeal was filed in the Court of Appeal Registry hours after Magistrate Nizam Khan dismissed the charges against the duo because prosecutors from the DPP’s Office attempted to delay the start of the trial of the case for an eighth time, on Tuesday.
In the event that the DPP’s Office wins the appeal, the charges can be reinstituted against the officers and the case would be heard before a different magistrate.
If the appeal is dismissed, it would clear the way for the officers, who were suspended by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) pending the outcome of the case, to be reinstated to active duty.
The TTPS would also decide if they can return to their roles on its nightly television show Beyond the Tape.
Prior to being charged, Alexander co-hosted the show, while Mires guest starred in the show’s crime prevention segment as a character who repeatedly got caught committing crimes.
A date for the hearing of the appeal is yet to be set by the Appeal Court.
During the hearing before Khan in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday, prosecutor Anastasia Mc Meo requested an adjournment as Assistant DPP Tricia Hudlin-Cooper and senior prosecutor Mauriceia Joseph, who are assigned to prosecute the case.
She said her colleagues were presenting submissions in the Court of Appeal.
However, she could not explain why Hudlin-Cooper and Joseph failed to inform the court and the officers’ defence attorneys of their absence.
Khan then gave her an opportunity to open the State’s case and begin leading the testimony of two of the State’s witnesses. Although the witnesses were present for the hearing, the prosecutor was unwilling to do so in her superiors’ absence.
Mc Meo also could not give an account of a third witness, who had missed previous hearings of the case due to illness.
In considering an impromptu application to dismiss the case from the duo’s attorneys, Khan said he balanced the serious nature of the charges, the public’s interest in the case and the numerous times prosecutors sought adjournments due to issues with tracking down witnesses.
“The State cannot drag on the matter like this forever,” Khan said.
The charges arose out of an incident near Christopher Charles’ home at Santa Cruz Old Road in July 2016.
Charles reported the incident to police but decided to file private criminal charges. The DPP’s Office intervened and took over the prosecution of the case.
Alexander and Mires were accused of assaulting Charles with intent to cause him actual bodily harm. Mires was facing an additional charge for committing common assault.
Alexander is being represented by Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Lee Merry, while John Heath is representing Mires.
Reporter: Derek Achong