By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards of Stoney Grove appeared before the District ‘C’ Magistrate Court on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 accused of stealing one (1) boat engine valued at $9500.00 E.C. The Stoney Grove resident was represented by Dr. Henry Browne Q.C.
The story unfolded when the prosecution that was led by Officer Conrad Bertie called its first witness to give evidence. Jermaine Browne of Prospect Estate took the witness stand and told the court that on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at about 6:30 p.m. he took a drive on the bay front Charlestown, close to Gallows Bay where he saw his fishing boat in the water.
Browne stated that on the following day at about 6:15 a.m. he went to Gallows Bay to go fishing when he discovered that his boat was missing. Browne said that the main anchor was loose from the boat and the secondary anchor was cut. Here, Browne indicated that from the Gallows Bay shores he saw something shimmering about two miles out to sea. He said he spoke to a friend name ‘Lester’ and both men went out to sea using Lester’s boat. Browne stated that the finding was that, the boat was indeed his, but immediately discerned that the missing boat was without the engine.
According to Browne he then went to St. Kitts accompanied by Lester and another friend. He said he spoke to a few fellows at the port and as a result of their conversation he went to an area where fishermen usually dock their boats. Browne said he immediately saw his ‘rope’ tied to another boat.
Browne told the court that he was able to identify his rope because of the color, blue and orange. He also stated that the rope matched perfectly with the other piece of cut rope that was left tied to his anchor.
Dr. Henry Browne during cross-examination asked the witness if he owns a rope factory. Dr Browne asked Jermaine Browne how long had he been making ropes and where did he learn to compare ropes? To this, the witness answered that he knows how his rope looks. When asked ‘what’s the name of the boat that the rope was found in’, he replied “I am not certain, its either Morning Glory or Morning Star’.
The Prosecution then called their second witness, Lester ‘Abba’ Richards. Richards who resides at Stoney Grove said he knows the defendant, Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards for many years and he knows him to own a boat. He said he was at home on Sunday, June 30, 2013 when he received a phone call from Jermaine. He said he used his boat and they went to St. Kitts. In St. Kitts he said he saw the rope in question tied to another boat. ‘Abba’ said he was not aware of the name of the boat where the rope was found but he knew the boat to belong to ‘Barba’ Richards.
Attorney Browne Q.C. told ‘Abba’ that he only wants to put the defendant into trouble because they ‘both don’t get along’. Attorney Browne further stated that he (Abba) has a grudge for the defendant because he catches a lot more fish than ‘Abba’. Abba denied this emphatically.
Sergeant Joel Caines also gave evidence on behalf of the Prosecution.
Dr. Henry Browne then made a ‘no case to answer submission’. Dr. Browne indicated that all that was before the court was a lot of ‘hoopla’. “This is a ‘ropey’ case”, he said. Browne told the court that his client was not charged with a rope or an anchor theft. He said any circumstantial evidence must lead to one direction and one direction only; and that’s to find that his client was not guilty. Attorney Browne said that no element of the ‘crime’ had been satisfied; nothing tied his client to the stolen engine. Attorney Browne pointed out that ‘the witnesses don’t know the name of the boat and both indicated to the court different colors of the boat’.
Officer Bertie rebutted and told the court that the rope was found in a boat identified by Lester ‘Abba’ Richards as belonging to the defendant, Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards. Officer Bertie indicated that although Lester ‘Abba’ Richards was unable to give the name of the boat, Richards knows the defendant, Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards owns the boat, and he knows the color of the boat.
Officer Bertie pointed out that from the evidence of Lester ‘Abba’ Richards one can infer that that the defendant, Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards took the engine from Jermaine Browne’s boat.
Officer Bertie also highlighted that Jermaine Browne was able to identify his rope and indicated that to the best of his knowledge no business places on Nevis stocked that particular brand of rope, nor had he ever seen any other fishermen using that type of rope.
Officer Bertie concludes that the defendant Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards stole the engine from the boat.
The defendant Dwight ‘Barba’ Richards gave evidence on his own behalf. He indicated his boat is called ‘Obliviate’; and he emphatically denied that he stole Jermaine Browne’s engine. He went on to tell the court that at the time the incident was said to have taken place, he was in St. Kitts for music festival.
In a bid to prove his client’s innocence, Attorney Browne stated, ‘why would an intelligent man steal an engine and leave the rope in an open boat? If any rope was found it was planted there’. Attorney Browne told the court that it is dangerous to convict a man unless it shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty as charged and in this particular case before the court there is no explanation as to how the rope got into the boat.
Her Honor, Magistrate Josephine Mallalieu then made her ruling. She based her conclusion on the evidence of the timing of when the rope was found, the color of the rope and the matching pieces when both pieces of the cut rope were put together. She concluded, “The court finds that the rope has the same faded color as the piece that was left tied to the anchor on the virtual complainant’s (Jermaine Browne) boat and the rope was found on the defendant’s boat in a very short window of time. With these findings the court finds the defendant guilty”.
Dwight ‘Barba’ Richard was ordered by the court to compensate Jermaine Browne $10, 000.00 and he was given four months to do so or in default he will serve one (1) year in prison with hard labour.
Her Honor, Magistrate Josephine Mallalieu indicated to Dwight ‘Barba’ Richard that he must return to the Charlestown High Court since he had broken the two year bond that was imposed on him after he was convicted at the High Court on April 18, 2012.
Nevispages spoke to Jermaine Browne after the matter asked him how he felt about the outcome of the case. He responded, ‘I feel relieved after one year’.