Free to go

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The family of Errol Vivian Jones celebrated with hugs and smiles outside the District ‘C’ Magistrates’ Court today after the Chief Magistrate ruled that he would stay put in Barbados.

“This is a good feeling!” was the declaration of one of the 64-year-old man’s sisters moments after Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch informed him that he would not be extradited to Canada.

Canadian authorities had made a request through diplomatic channels for Jones to be extradited after it was discovered that he breached the conditions of his parole.

Jones was residing in Canada when he was convicted of drug-related offences on November 11, 1993 and August 31, 1994. He was sentenced to six years, four months and seven days imprisonment.

However, after serving 1,430 days in prison Jones was released on full parole. As part of his conditions he was required to periodically report to his probation officer. But on October 10, 1997, Jones failed to report, leading to warrants of suspension and apprehension being issued by the Correctional Services of Canada. The breach of his parole conditions meant he was automatically required to complete the remaining 889 days of his sentence and as such a request was made for him to be extradited.

According to the evidence given by Jones in the District ‘C’ Magistrates’ Court over the last few weeks he had been living in Barbados for over two decades and had even worked as a Transport Board driver before the police knocked on his door on January 16, 2019 with a warrant of apprehension.

“Why do they want to extradite me when they deport me?” was the question Jones repeatedly asked when he gave evidence in the matter recently.

However, the Chief Magistrate pointed out that much was made about the circumstances in which Jones returned to Barbados and whether he was a person who was “unlawfully at large” which is the definition of a fugitive.

Chief Magistrate Birch stated that the evidence given from the log book kept by the Immigration Department at the Grantley Adams International Airport as well as other statements showed that the wanted man was “indeed deported” from Canada.

“Logically it is difficult to understand if he was indeed deported [how] he falls into the category of being unlawfully at large having been lawfully removed from Canada and based on that Mr Jones I cannot grant a deportation order. I am satisfied that you were not unlawfully at large during the time that you were in Barbados,” Birch ruled.

The judicial officer went on to say that what made the decision “even more pellucid” was having left Canada on an emergency document, there was literally one place Jones could go.

“It’s a nonstop flight to Barbados so you can only come here and I am satisfied that all the intelligence on the part of the Canadian officials would reveal that having put you on a one-way flight, logically it was only one place you could have landed. As a result I will not be granting any application at this time for your deportation because I cannot rule that you were unlawfully at large . . . . And I think had they wanted you, logically this is where they should have looked for you,” the Chief Magistrate told Jones before telling him “You are free to go”.

The 64-year-old man walked out with a smile and was quickly hugged by his two sisters Cora Smith and Evelyn Greenidge in the court’s lobby. And while Jones declined to speak with the media, his attorney Clement Lashley, QC, who represented him along with legal counsel Honor Chase were happy with the decision.

“He was able to stand his ground. He was always a witness of truth from beginning to end and I am not therefore surprised that the decision was given in his favour.

“I think that justice has been done in this matter,” the Queen’s Counsel said.

The matter was prosecuted by Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Blackman and Senior Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney.
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