Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Karim Nelson and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Ashelle Morgan will have to wait until November to their fate in the case which involves the April 13 shooting of Diamond resident Cornelius John.
When the matter was called at the Mesopotamia Magistrate Court last Friday, it was adjourned to November 5th – its fourth adjournment since late June when Nelson and Morgan were charged separately.
In late June, Nelson and Morgan appeared before the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown and the matter was adjourned July 5th and transferred to the Calliaqua Magistrate Court. When the parties went to the Calliaqua court, district magistrate Zoila Ellis-Browne was on vacation leave, pending renewal of her contract. The matter was then further adjourned to August 17th.
When the matter was called on that date, magistrate Ellis-Browne recused herself saying Morgan was her family counsel. The matter was then adjourned to August 27th and transferred to the Mespo court.
Last Friday Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sejilla Mc Dowall made an application for adjournment and asked the court to set “a clear trial date” because her office needed to finalize an arrangement with an overseas counsel who is expected to be brought here to prosecute the matter on behalf of the state. She said her office had satisfied its mandate to disclose trial documents to the defense and that disclosure “would be continuing.”
When asked by District Magistrate Bertie Pompey if he had any objection, Nelson’s legal counsel Ronald Marks said “no please, your honour, that is the most prudent of course of actions.”
Morgan’s legal counsel Duane Daniel told the court that he, too, did not have any objection to the application for adjournment but that was subject to finding a trial date that was convenient. He added that as disclosure was ongoing there might be additional requests.
Mc Dowall told the court that Morgan had another matter in which John was involved before the court and that that matter was set for November. She suggested that a date be set in December.
Magistrate Pompey, in consultation with the court clerk in relation to the court’s calendar, suggested December 3rd, 2021, as the trial date. However, defense counsel Daniel, after a brief consultation with Morgan, told the court his client was requesting an earlier trial date.
Magistrate Pompey then proposed November 19th. But, the DPP said she was trying to juggle time to allow for the overseas counsel. She asked for a trial date to be set in early November.
Magistrate Pompey then granted a trial date for November 5th, 2021.
All parties agreed to the trial date.
Nelson is charged that on April 13th, 2021, at Diamond, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded John. He is also charged that on April 13, 2021, at Diamond, he unlawfully discharged a firearm at John.
Morgan, who is a government senator, is charged that on April 13, 2021, at Diamond, she assaulted John with intent to wound him.
John is facing a charge of threat against Morgan in the Biabou Magistrate Court, the trial of which is scheduled for November 12, 2021. He is charged that on April 13, 2021, at Diamond, in circumstances likely to cause a breach of the peace, he used threatening language to Ashelle Morgan to wit: “he had ‘grenades and machine guns and that I should not get in his way or he will kill me and his wife.’”
John is being represented in that matter by legal counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste.