Shaffeek Bacchus murder
... Alleged ‘death squad’ member, Hinds, for High Court trial
Kaieteur News
July 30, 2004

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Murder accused Sean Hinds was yesterday committed to stand trial in the High Court for the murder of Shafeek Bacchus, a Princes Street cattle framer.

Magistrate Adrian Thompson, who presided over the Preliminary Inquiry into the shooting to death of Bacchus, made his ruling after reviewing the prosecution’s and defence counsel’s submissions.

Defence Counsel Campton Richardson presented a no case submission last week when he told the court that there was insufficient evidence to make out a case against his client.

However, contrary to Richardson’s submissions, Prosecutor Simone Morris argued that a prima facie (established evidence) case was made out against the accused, Sean Hinds.

Bacchus was murdered outside his home at Princes Street, Lodge, on January 5, 2004 at about 19:20 hrs when gunmen reportedly opened fire on him.

Following Bacchus’ death, his brother, George Bacchus (now deceased) reportedly fingered the Manager of Auby’s Wine Bar, Mark Thomas, known as ‘Kerzorkee’; proprietor of A&D Funeral Home, Ashton King; and former police officer, Sean Hinds, as the persons who shot his brother.

Thomas subsequently died while King was recently freed.

The Director of Public Prosecutions was forced to restart the case after Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen withdrew from the inquiry.

In court yesterday, Richardson responded to Morris’s arguments for a prima facie case, stating that the prosecution had ‘cockeyed’ reasoning and ‘airy-fairy’ evidence against his client.

“They have established no evidence to prove that the lone eyewitness, Aubrey Price, had any prior knowledge of the accused. The prosecution said that (Price) saw my client each day for six months. However, they never said for how long, what distance nor what angle. The identification evidence is of poor quality,” Richardson told Magistrate Thompson.

“I therefore respectfully ask this court to discharge this case against my client since the evidence is insufficient to commit him to stand trail in the High Court,” Richardson said.

“Moreover, Sir, before the court makes its decision I would like to point out that Sergeant Frazer in his evidence said that he questioned my client and he (Hinds) told Frazer where he was during the time of the incident. Frazer further stated that after checking what Hinds told him he had no reason to doubt my client,” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, Sean Hinds was allowed the opportunity to speak on his own behalf from the dock.

He said: “On January 5, I was not involved in this shooting. I spoke with Sergeant Frazer and I told him where I was at the time when this incident occurred. He said to me that he’s going to check it out. He came back to me and said that he check it out and everything was okay. He said he went to the person and that everything was true.”

Upon making his decision, Magistrate Thompson said, “From Price’s evidence, it appears to me that although it was a poor form of identification…from the evidence he said that he saw the person everyday. One would tend to think, that although the evidence did not show this, …he knew the person because of the amount of time he saw the person.”

Richardson said, “I urge this honorable court to review its position since we cannot assume that the witness Price, knew the accused. Again I say that a sufficient case was not made out and I respectfully ask you to review your decision and evidence.

“I think that there is a prima facie case against the accused,” Thompson said.

Speaking to Sean Hinds, Thompson added, “You are therefore committed to stand trail in the High Court during the October session.”

As the decision was announced, Hinds’ family members began to walk out of the court, mumbling their disapproval.

Hinds meanwhile looked up, closed his eyes and shook his head.