Man wanted for 24 years gets lucky

Court Reports

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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A man who was wanted on a bench warrant for 24 years was lucky to be free on Friday after the presiding judge reversed a decision to take him into custody.

Presiding Judge Chester Crooks remanded Delroy Shaw who was charged in December 1994 for assaulting his girlfriend following an unsuccessful application to relist the case by his attorney Ian Davis.

During the application, Davis told the court that his client did not understand that he should have returned to court on April 5, 1995, because his ex-girlfriend told him that she no longer wanted to pursue the matter. The court was told that neither Shaw nor the complainant returned to court.

Crooks told Davis that persons will want to criticise the time frame in which a case is before the court but they will not take into consideration that Shaw has been at large for over 20 years.

“Set a date, your client going into custody because he's a fugitive,” Crooks said.

“Give the crown time to try and locate the warrant,” Crooks said, adding that the crown has to find out if the complainant has her day of justice.

In an attempt to secure his client's freedom, Davis argued that Shaw appeared to be very simple and that he did not understand the court process. At the same time, he asked the judge to apply the “simple man scenario”.

Crooks, noting that Shaw only returned to court because he wants his police record to be cleared, told Davis that he will hold onto his client to protect him from himself given the fact that he was unable to understand the simple scenario that he should have returned to court.

Fighting for his client's freedom, Davis insisted that it was his client's first brush with the law.

Crooks told Davis that he could make an application “until thy kingdom come” because he was not going to extent Shaw's bail given the fact that he had absconded. “This is why people ought to come to court,” Crooks added.

Shaw was subsequently remanded.

But things took an about-turn when attorney Russell Stewart made a compelling application for his client who was in a similar predicament.

Russell, who was obviously not daunted by the judge's ruling, called up his matter.

Stewart argued that his client had never missed a court date and was told to go home when the complainant in the matter failed to appear in court.

Crooks told Stewart that the judge who presided over the matter would not have given such instruction to his client.

Stewart, who was steadfast throughout in his application, argued that his client is an upstanding citizen who deserves to be free while the court attempts to locate his file.

He further argued that if the matter was before another judge in the parish court, they would have offered the accused person a fresh bail.

The attorney suggested that the court offer his client bail with a surety instead of revoking his bail.

He also suggested that in the event that the bench warrant is executed, his client will have a copy of the bail bond to prove that he's on bail.

The accused man was offered $50,000 bail with a surety. His wife who was present in court subsequently bailed her husband.

Immediately, Crooks instructed the police to have Shaw, who was already place in custody, to return to court.

Shaw's attorney, who had already left the court precinct and was on his way to another parish, was also contacted to return to court.

Moments later when the attorney arrived, Shaw was subsequently offered bail.


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