Appeal pending

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Lieutenant Coast Guard David Harewood’s dismissal from the Barbados Defence Force will not go unchallenged.

Moments after a five-member CARICOM Tribunal found him guilty on two charges and ordered his dismissal from the country’s armed forces, his attorney-at-law Vincent Watson revealed he would be appealing the decision.

The 43-year-old Harewood, an 18-year military vet, was this afternoon found guilty of the charges that he on an unknown date in January 2018, being a commissioned officer in the BDF, having knowledge of a threat to the life of Ordinary Seaman Marlon Scott, neglected to inform his superiors of such a threat and that he conducted unauthorised information gathering operations, conduct unbecoming of a commissioned officer in the BDF, between January 1, 2014 and September 30, 2018.

The Tribunal, with the assistance of Judge Advocate Neville Watson, deliberated for one hour and 15 minutes before coming to its decision.

Harewood had faced up to two years in military prison.

The findings must be confirmed by Deputy Chief of Staff of the BDF Commander Aquinas Clarke, who convened the court martial.

However, shortly after the sentence was handed down, the defence counsel told members of the media he would be heading to the High Court to file an appeal.

He contended that the Tribunal had erred in its ruling and had not followed the advice given by the judge advocate.

“The findings of the court martial are not supported by the evidence led in the case and the court martial’s findings of a no-case submission involves a wrong decision on a question of law, those are the two grounds of appeal at this time that I will be filing in this matter,” Watson revealed.

“Now I have to wait until such time as there is confirmation of the decision of the panel and I thereafter have 40 days in which to do it. Once the decision has been confirmed I shall be filing that appeal.”

The veteran attorney-at-law, whose no-case submission last Friday resulted in two of the more serious charges against Harewood being dropped, admitted he was disappointed with the ruling.

“As a lawyer one must always accept the decision of the court, but in this case I am of the view that the court went against the weight of evidence and of course went against the advice given by the judge advocate,” he said.

Watson said Harewood’s dismissal from the BDF would only take effect after the confirmation of the order of the court.

He said until that confirmation was given, his client would remain a member of the BDF subject to military discipline.

Earlier, during his brief mitigation Watson had urged the Tribunal not to imprison the convicted man as it was his first offence.

He asked them to express leniency towards Harewood and to consider a fine, a dock in pay or a demotion of rank instead.

In handing down the decision, president Lieutenant Colonel Rohan Johnson of the Jamaica Defence Force said several factors were taken into consideration including the evidence, the accused’s service record, the mitigation, the degree of criminality, previous convictions, the offence being committed and years of active service.

And while the president said Harewood had an unblemished record up to this point, the decision was made to dismiss him from the BDF.

Despite the sentence, Harewood seemed unfazed as he exited the court martial smiling.

The senior military officer could possibly lose all of his benefits as a result of his conviction. [email protected]

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