Professor’s son denied bail again
RODNEY Beckles, son of principal of the UWI’s Cave Hill campus Professor Hillary Beckles, was again denied bail when his murder case came up for mention in the Half-Way-Tree Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
Beckles, who is charged with the murder of Khalil Campbell, the son of high court judge Lennox Campbell, will return to court on February 7 when the preliminary enquiry in the case is expected to start.
Yesterday, Beckles’ attorney, Patrick Atkinson, in a lengthy and impassioned bail application before RM Judith Pusey, argued that his client did not initiate the attack on Campbell, which led to the death of the latter.
Atkinson told the court that at the time of the altercation between the two men earlier this month, Campbell was having a ‘mental health episode’, which prompted him to assault Beckles first. This, Atkinson said, was justified by a statement from a witness who saw the entire altercation.
According to the statement, Atkinson argued, some time after arriving at the location along Old Hope Road where Beckles and others were smoking marijuana, Campbell began to ‘throw words’ on Beckles. Campbell then took off his shirt, according to the statement, and said to Beckles, “Let’s box”. With these aggressive actions, Atkinson argued, Campbell initiated the attack.
However, RM Pusey challenged Atkinson’s argument, saying that the statement referred to by him showed Beckles as the person who initiated the physical aspect of the altercation. According to the statement, Pusey said, Beckles kicked Campbell away after Campbell challenged him to box, thereby landing the first blow. Campbell did not retaliate, the magistrate went on, until after he was kicked by Beckles.
She also challenged Atkinson’s argument that Campbell was having a ‘mental episode’, saying that in his bail application Atkinson mentioned that Campbell had his medication forcefully given to him two hours before his arrival at the premises on Old Hope Road where Beckles and others were located.
However, despite Pusey’s rejection of his arguments, Atkinson said his client would not try to evade his court dates if granted bail, and that Beckles would report to the nearest police station as frequently as prescribed by the court.
Atkinson also assured RM Pusey that Beckles would be enrolled in a drug rehabilitation programme to ensure that the youngster did not smoke marijuana while out on bail.
However, much to the sheer delight of Campbell’s family members present in the courtroom, the magistrate denied Beckles bail, and scheduled the matter for preliminary inquiry.