Charge against cops over $8m robbery thrown out as fiat missing from case file
Charges against two policemen for conspiring in an $8m robbery against a Chinese national were thrown out yesterday when it was found that the requisite fiat had not been inscribed on the case jacket.
A fiat is a legally binding command or decision entered on the court record. It is now unclear what will become of the intended charge against constables Julian Smartt, and Winston Williams.
They both appeared before Chief Magistrate (ag) Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court where they were charged jointly with conspiracy to commit robbery.
It is alleged that on November 29, while at Prashad Nagar, Georgetown, they conspired together along with two others to rob Chinese national, Qi Lin, of $8 million in cash while armed with a gun.
Additionally, the two men faced separate charges. It is alleged that Smartt on the day in question at the Prashad Nagar police outpost, while being an agent employed by the state, attempted to obtain $150,000 from Qi Lin for the offence of use of a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle, and operating an unlicensed motor vehicle and an uninsured motor vehicle.
It is also alleged that Williams, while being an agent employed by the state, attempted to obtain from Qi Lin for himself, the sum of $30,000 as a reward for having the aforementioned charges forgone.
They both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution objected to bail based on the fact that the duo are members of the Guyana Police Force who took an oath. The objection was also based on the seriousness of the charges and the attached penalties. The court was also asked to consider the amount Qi Lin would have lost due to the incident.
The prosecution stated that the police are in possession of CCTV footage and also have proof that the accused were in contact with two other suspects before and after the offence was committed.
The court was also informed that the prosecution was in possession of witness statements and that both Smartt and Williams were positively identified.
The court heard that on the day in question, the two police officers arrested Lin and took him to the Prashad Nagar police outpost where he was cautioned, charged and sent away, however no entries of the alleged offences were entered into the station diary.
Smartt was represented by attorney-atlaw Patrice Henry, who in his application for bail, revealed that Smart who is 30years-old has been working with the Guyana Police Force for the past four years. Henry proceeded to ask the magistrate to inquire whether the prosecution was in possession of the fiat and whether or not the file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before charges were brought against the defendants.
He also asked the court to take judicial notice of the time that the defendants spent in jail, calling it an attack on their constitutional rights. The defendants were said to have been incarcerated from November 29th to December 5th.
Henry said that none of the grounds that the prosecution objected to were issues that would cause the court not to grant his client bail, as he is not a flight risk and will abide by the bail conditions. Williams was represented by attorney-atlaw, Jevon Cox, who told the court that in