Regan Rodrigues called ‘Grey Boy’
COME February 12, Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman will have to comply with the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and commit Regan Rodrigues, called ‘Grey Boy’, to stand trial in the High Court for the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing.
This decision came after the magistrate lost an appeal for a stay of execution (a delay in carrying out a court order) and was directed by Appeal Judge Dawn Gregory to comply with the directions of the DPP.
However, with the matter still ongoing in the Appeal Court, Rodrigues’ committal will not affect the appeal by the Magistrate.
On Monday, Special Prosecutor, Nigel Hughes appeared before Magistrate Latchman. However, Rodrigues was not in custody thus causing a summons to be issued for his arrest. The matter is adjourned until February 12.
In 2017, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had instructed Magistrate Judy Latchman, via a letter, to commit Rodrigues to stand trial in the High Court.
Magistrate Latchman had maintained that a prima facie case was not made out against Rodrigues, in relation to the murder, causing the DPP to issue a letter to the magistrate instructing her to commit the matter to the High Court for trial.
“In accordance with section 72 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01, I hereby remit to your Worship the above-mentioned matter and direct you to comply with Sections 65 and 66 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Chapter 10:01 with a view of committing the accused,” the letter stated.
When Rodrigues heard the contents of the letter he broke down in tears and dropped to his knees while in the prisoners’ dock.
“They want see me convicted for this murder na?” Rodrigues said to the Magistrate. “I can’t take this thing no more… how much time I must be freed from this charge to prove to them that I’m innocent…Is best I kill myself and let these people feel nice.”
Despite the objection raised by the DPP, Rodrigues had the murder charge discharged against him again.
“There is absolutely no evidence,” the Magistrate noted, as she dismissed the charge again and told Rodrigues that he was free to go.
Latchman dismissed the case on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence against him. In her ruling, the magistrate said that while she was satisfied that the gun, which was used to shoot Crum-Ewing, was found at the home of the accused, the evidence offered by the prosecution did not implicate Rodrigues in the actual murder.
In relation to the 14 oral statements made by Rodrigues, which were admitted into evidence, the magistrate said they did not implicate him in the murder and there was no evidence that Rodrigues used the gun, pulled the trigger and shot Crum-Ewing.
Special Prosecutor Hughes during that time had said that in one of Rodrigues’ oral statements, there was sufficient evidence that he has knowledge of the murder.
According to Hughes, when Rodrigues was first arrested by the police at his home in River View, Ruimveldt, he had said to the ranks: “Officer, yuh can’t arrest me with this gun, this gun used to do nuff thing.”
As such, Hughes emphasised that based on this statement by Rodrigues, it shows that the accused had knowledge of the crime and what the gun was used to do. Additionally, Hughes, who is a prominent attorney, told this newspaper that the fact that the murder weapon was found in the home of the accused showed that there was sufficient evidence for the matter to be committed to the High Court.
In September 2016, Rodrigues was freed of the murder charge by Magistrate Latchman, due to the lack of evidence. The office of the DPP decided to re-open the case for further evidence from police witnesses and, for the magistrate to rule on the oral statements made by Rodrigues.
The bullet-riddled body of Crum-Ewing was found at Third Avenue, Diamond New Scheme, EBD, on March 10, 2015. The 40-year-old was shot twice to the temple, once to the back of the head and twice to the stomach.
The police in a statement had stated that the political activist was accosted by four men in a car, one of whom discharged several rounds, hitting him about the body. It was reported that the killer (s) used a .32 pistol to execute Crum-Ewing.
The political activist was well-known for his one-man protest outside the office of former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall. Minutes before he was gunned down, he was reportedly heard via a bullhorn urging residents of the neighbourhood to vote against the then ruling PPP/C party.