Barnes gets bail

Some custody time will go toward fine

Andy Errol Barnes was granted bail in Grand Court on Tuesday after the presiding judge received a notice of the Crown’s intention not to pursue the case. He had been charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence, namely assault.

Barnes, 31, had been in custody since shortly after an incident outside a Bodden Town shopping plaza on the night of 20 December.

Crown Counsel Tricia Hutchinson told Justice Algernon Smith she had received a statement by the main prosecution witness on Monday. She indicated the witness’ reasons for no longer being willing to give evidence.

Ms Hutchinson handed up the formal notice of nolle prosequi and Barnes was discharged.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey expressed disappointment, saying he had hoped the Crown would offer no evidence and then Barnes would be found not guilty. Because the discharge is conditional, Barnes could be charged again.

Mr. Dixey pointed out that there were four witnesses who would have said Barnes did not have a gun when he and his common-law wife had an argument outside the Water Boyz Liquor Store around 9.30pm.

The woman herself had said at a bail hearing in December that there was no gun. Closed circuit TV tape from the compound did not show any gun and none was found that night by police who searched Barnes’ home and car.

Barnes had been on bail for another charge at the time of this incident.

After being discharged in the Grand Court, Barnes appeared before Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale. She confirmed that he had been granted bail for his charges in the Summary Court.

Barnes told her he had been served with a warrant for failure to pay a fine she had previously imposed. Since then, his time in custody had been set off against the fine, so he was essentially serving time in lieu of payment.

The magistrate asked the prison officer to calculate how much “fine time” had been served so that Barnes would know how much he still owed. She adjourned his summary matters until a date in August.

Barnes was due back in Grand Court for mention of another matter on 6 May.

The bail granted by Justice Smith included conditions of curfew and residence plus electronic monitoring.