Bail application queried
Chakane Jameile Scott, 18, appeared in Summary Court on Tuesday afternoon, charged with the murder of Asher McGaw, 21, on 22 September in the district of East End in Grand Cayman.
Scott is further charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, but no background information was given in court and the charges themselves did not contain specific details.
Defence attorney Lucy Organ advised she wished to apply for bail. Crown Counsel Jenesha Simpson said the Summary Court had no jurisdiction to hear a bail application. She told Magistrate Valdis Foldats his function was to transmit the matter to the Grand Court, as a recent amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code requires this to be done “forthwith”. Hearing a bail application would mean assessing the strength of the Crown’s evidence, and that is not the Summary Court’s purview, she said.
“Forthwith means immediately,” she said.
Ms Organ disagreed. She argued it would be an injustice if someone accused of a serious charge gets only one chance to apply for bail, while someone accused of a lesser charge can apply in Summary Court and then to Grand Court if that fails. She said a change in the law that drastic would be explicitly worded.
Ms Simpson replied the law appeared to be straightforward.
The magistrate said he thought it unfortunate the amended law did not deal with the bail aspect. The intent of the amendment was the Grand Court has sole jurisdiction in terms not only of hearing these matters, but also regarding bail applications. “So my position is – I have no jurisdiction.”
Ms Organ said this might be an issue that needs to be resolved.
Meanwhile, Scott was remanded in custody until Friday, 14 October.