Unlawful gaming dismissed

A charge of unlawful gaming against Ansel Hay Fairclough and Wesley Thompson was dismissed during Summary Court proceedings on Thursday, 8 October.

According to evidence given by Police Officers Gregory Banks and Damenian Maxwell, on 5 June they were doing a routine patrol of Welly’s Cool Spot.

They went to the rear of the premises, where a room equipped with gambling instruments was found.

The two defendants were said to be sitting around a table and playing cards, with money displayed.

Thompson allegedly grabbed the money and hid it under the table.

The remaining money was seized by officers, who said the cards on both sides of the table were facing down.

The men were then searched and arrested on suspicion of illegal gambling, for what police say was a game of rummy.

Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said when such an offence is prosecuted, the gaming house involved should also be before the court. She said this was important to avoid seeming selective.

At the end of hearing the evidence, she said if the men were represented, there would likely be a no case submission and adjourned the matter to consider if there was a case to answer.

In addition, the magistrate was concerned whether the case had been tried in the proper court.

Upon resuming proceedings, she said section 26 of the Gambling Law stated that such an offence should be summarily tried in the Grand Court.

Crown Counsel Nicole Petit, submitted that in the circumstances, the statute should be dealt with and read as it stands and suggested that the magistrate simply use her powers to determine whether to send the matter to the Grand Court.

Magistrate Hale said the wording of the law was almost contradictory but agreed to act in her capacity with respect to deciding whether to send the matter to the Grand Court.

She said the law made no reference to the Summary Court but she realised that in the particular proceedings, she is considered to be an examining magistrate and as such, did not think there was enough evidence to send the matter to the higher court.

‘I am not minded to send these men to the Grand Court for an offence which carries a maximum penalty of $400,’ said Mrs. Hale, who added that perhaps the proper forum for such cases would be the Summary Court.

She invited the Crown to seek the proper amendment to be made and the case to be dismissed.

The men’s bond and the money seized on the day of the alleged offence was to be returned.