Dion Bascom’s charges: Magistrate gives Police Legal Advisor 24hrs to produce video evidence
…or be sent to prison for Contempt of Court, was never remanded
Magistrate Leron Daly has given Police Legal Advisor Mandel Moore 24 hours to produce a piece of video evidence in relation to Police Sergeant Dion Bascom’s court case, or be sent to prison for contempt of the court.
The video requested by the court is from a press conference hosted by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) following the damning allegations made by Bascom; in particular, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum’s debunking of the claims made by Bascom in regard to his covering up of the probe into the murder of Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes.
Moore had previously been ordered by Magistrate Daly to produce the video evidence, but when he showed up at the court on Wednesday, he failed to do so. It was then that the magistrate threatened that if he does not obey her orders, he could be sent to prison for contempt of the court. As such, an oral undertaking to have the evidence presented to the court by Thursday at 11:00h was agreed upon. The video evidence is needed in preparation for the commencement of trial of the matter, which is set for November 9.
Bascom has been placed on $300,000 bail by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan when he appeared in that Georgetown Magistrate’s Court slapped with three cybercrime -related charges alleging that, twice between August 13 and August 19, he used a computer system to transmit electronic data with the intent to humiliate, harass, or cause distress to Superintendent Mitchell Caesar; and of allegedly doing same to Superintendent Chabinauth Singh on one occasion.
Sergeant Bascom was among several persons arrested by the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) on August 8, after a quantity of cocaine was discovered at a house on Norton Street, Georgetown.
While a charge for trafficking in narcotics was laid against some of the persons, none was laid against Sergeant Bascom. Seemingly angered by his arrest, Sergeant Bascom subsequently made several Facebook live videos in which he made damning allegations of corruption against several senior Police detectives and prominent businessman Azruddin Mohamed.
Bascom has alleged that Police ranks have accepted bribes and are “covering up” the murder of Ricardo Fagundes, called “Paper Shorts”. Police are yet to charge the perpetrators. He later deleted the posts out of fear for his family members’ lives.
Acting Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum have already debunked Sergeant Bascom’s allegations, calling them “malicious and untrue”, and Government had solicited the assistance of the Regional Security System (RSS) to investigate the claims made by Sergeant Bascom.
The RSS, in pronouncing on the matter, made it clear that there was no evidence to substantiate Sergeant Bascom’s claims. The team also found that the two live recordings made by Bascom were in contravention of Section 19 (5) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act.
Businessman Mohamed, who from the outset had distanced himself from the allegations, has since filed a $200 million defamation lawsuit against Sergeant Bascom, in which he contended in his Statement of Claim that the words and statements uttered by Bascom are all untrue, false, dangerous, disingenuous, malicious, irrational, unfair, unsubstantiated, unfounded, and baseless, thereby tarnishing and lowering his reputation.
Superintendent Caesar, through his lawyer, had threatened to take legal action against Sergeant Bascom if he did not remove the posts and offer him an apology and $50 million compensation.