Father and son George Lunard Powell and Jordan Bryson Powell appeared in Summary Court via video link from Northward Prison on Wednesday, when the younger defendant told the court, “I don’t think my father should be here.”
George Powell, 47, and Jordan Powell, 24, were refused bail when they appeared in court last week. They are charged separately with the same offenses: possession of an unlicensed .45 Taurus semiautomatic pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition, on Sound Way on Jan. 21.
The two men were in a truck that crashed into a utility pole following a police chase, and the gun was recovered at the scene.
Jordan Powell’s attorney, Alice Carver said her client had elected for the matter to be dealt with in Grand Court, where he would enter a plea when the charges are put to him.
“He wants to make it clear his father had no knowledge of the gun – no possession or control,” she said.
Attorney Prathna Bodden, representing the elder Powell, pointed out that her client did not have to go to Grand Court just because the other defendant had chosen to do so.
She said in light of Ms. Carver’s comments, she was again applying for bail for George Powell on the basis of a change in circumstances.
Crown counsel Greg Walcolm argued that there was no material change in circumstances. He said there was a “mere assertion” by one defendant. No plea had been entered and there was no signed statement.
He pointed out that George Powell had been driving the truck when it became involved in the police chase that led to the crash. Ms. Bodden agreed there had been a police chase, but said it occurred because her client “simply panicked and drove off.” He had a business to run, a family to support and he could be put on curfew and electronic monitor, she urged.
If the matter goes to trial, it will be September or October before it can be heard, she said. “We have one Grand Court judge who is over-subscribed,” she submitted. She urged the court to keep in mind people are being kept in custody because there are not the resources to deal with their trials – not enough courtrooms and not enough judges, she indicated.
Magistrate Grace Donalds said she did not believe she had been persuaded that there was a material change in circumstances.
Ms. Bodden advised that she had already filed papers in order to have a bail application in Grand Court on Feb. 3. Meanwhile, she pointed out, the next date for mentions in Grand Court is not until Feb. 24. “Jordan hasn’t entered a plea because he hasn’t been given the opportunity,” she asserted.
Jordan Powell then asked permission to speak. He said his attorney had a letter from him and he wanted her to put it forward. It was in this context that he said he did not think his father should be in custody.
Ms. Bodden renewed her bail application on the basis that some weight had to be put on the fact that the system was struggling under the weight of inadequate resources.
The magistrate said she could not possibly hold that there was a material change of circumstances because there was only one Grand Court judge. She acknowledged she did have sympathies.
Ms. Bodden replied, “This court has the jurisdiction to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The magistrate said she still thought it was preferable for the bail application to be heard in Grand Court.
The magistrate committed the charges to Grand Court for mention on Feb. 24.
George Powell’s next mention was set for Feb. 16, in Summary Court.