THE court matter involving Police Sergeant Dion Bascom on Thursday took another unexpected twist as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack has written the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards asking that Magistrate Leron Daly to be recused from the case.
The request came a day after Magistrate Daly told Police Legal Adviser Mandel Moore that he will be held in contempt after failing to hand over a video recording of a press conference held by Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum to address the allegations made by Bascom.
Bascom’s attorney, Nigel Hughes had made an application for the August 17, 2022 video recording to be submitted to the court, since it would aid his client’s case. Moore was ordered by the Magistrate to hand over the recording to the defence on Thursday.
However, in another turn of events, Moore showed up in court without the recording, and the court was informed by Magistrate Daly that the DPP wishes for her to be removed from the case.
According to information reaching the Guyana Chronicle, the DPP said that while Magistrate Daly does not appear to have any personal interest in the matter, her conduct, thus far, might lead to a miscarriage of justice or more legal challenges.
“Should the learned Magistrate continue to adjudicate in this matter, there is every likelihood that the case will not be afforded a fair hearing. This may not only be a miscarriage of justice, but will inevitably lead to legal processing in the High Court,” the DPP said in her letter.
Hughes strongly opposed the contentions of the letter, and informed the court that he will be filing a constitutional motion to challenge the DPP’s decisions, since it infringes on Bascom’s right to a fair hearing.
He argued that the Chancellor has no jurisdiction to order the recusal of a Magistrate from a case, and to do so would amount to a miscarriage of justice.
Among other things, Hughes stressed that the DPP misconducted herself when she went to the hierarchy of the judiciary and also failed to follow the proper procedures.
He added that the “frightening development” severely hinged on the independence of the courts as she is attempting to influence the outcome of the case.
Magistrate Daly informed the court that based on this new revelation, she will adjourn the matter until October 18, for her ruling on the recusal. Bascom’s trial is scheduled to commence on November 9.
Earlier this month, Bascom made his first appearance before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan for allegedly accusing two senior officers of covering up the murder of Ricardo Fagundes, known as “Paper Shorts.”
Bascom denied the three charges, which alleged that he, during August, used a computer system to transmit electronic data with the intent to humiliate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress to Superintendents Mitchell Caesar and Chabinauth Singh.
He was released on $300,000 bail, and was ordered to lodge his passport at the court, among other conditions.
Recently, Hughes filed a private criminal charge against the Crime Chief; however, the charge was later discontinued by the DPP.
On August 8, Bascom was arrested during a Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) raid at a home in Norton Street, Georgetown. Bascom was eventually released.
He then posted a live video on social media, which he later deleted, naming businessman Azruddin Mohamed and several senior officers in allegations about the murder investigation.
A popular gold dealer and biker, 42-year-old Fagundes was gunned down on Main Street, Georgetown, on March 21. Fagundes was shot more than a dozen times.
In the now-deleted Facebook video, Bascom claimed that he believed his detention had to do with his work on the murder case.
Mohamed has filed a $200 million lawsuit against Bascom in relation to the claims he made. The businessman is contending that the allegations made by Bascom are false.
The Regional Security System (RSS) recently reviewed the work done by police investigators and confirmed that there was no evidence to suggest that there was any attempt to cover up the crime.
The RSS also found that there is also no evidence of corrupt practices.