Case thrown out after four trial dates

A magistrate told Crown lawyers to “get their house in order” this week as she dismissed charges against a man whose trial date had been set four times for the same charges.

A trial date of March 10 was set for Andre Antonio Chase on five charges dating from January 2013. But Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez dismissed all charges after hearing that there were no witnesses present and that this was the fourth trial date.

She pointed out that the date had been set since Dec. 18.

Crown Counsel Candia James said all witnesses had been summoned for March 18 instead of March 10. She explained that Chase had two matters set for trial, one for March 10 and one for March 18. It appeared that the Crown counsel in court at the time had written the wrong date on the file. Administrative staff then filled out the summonses accordingly.

Defense attorney John Furniss said Chase, who was brought from custody, had completed his sentence for another matter in August 2014. “He has been awaiting these matters to be dealt with,” Mr. Furniss said.

The magistrate looked over the file jacket and said, “I’m afraid I’m dismissing these charges. The Crown really need to get their house in order on these things. Charges dismissed.”

She then granted Chase bail with a surety and curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and directed him to return for his next trial on March 18.

The charges that were dismissed were assault causing actual bodily harm, escaping lawful custody, disorderly conduct and two for resisting arrest.

A check of the file showed that Chase was first brought to court on this matter in July 2013. Trial was set for November 2013. It did not go ahead and another date was set for March 2014 and then again for November 2014. According to the file note, the Crown did not summons the witnesses for that last date.

The matter for trial on March 18 relates to an incident at the prison in May 2014, a single count of causing fear of violence to another prisoner.

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