A driving under the influence (DUI) charge against former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff, Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best was Wednesday dismissed by Georgetown Magistrate Clive Nurse.
In dismissing the charge, Magistrate Nurse upheld a no-case submission made by Best’s lawyers Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels, and Sophia Findlay.
According to the Magistrate, a prima-facie case was not established at the close of the prosecution’s case to call on Best to lead a defence.
The Magistrate noted that no evidence was led by the Prosecutor to prove that the breathalyser was approved by the subject Minister and that the Minister authorised the Police rank who performed the breathalyser test on Best, to use the device in keeping with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act.
In the end, the Magistrate noted that the prosecution failed to present evidence to prove the elements of the offence and accordingly dismissed the charge.
Following an accident that resulted in the death of a former national cyclist, 41-year-old Jude Bentley, Police charged Best with causing death by dangerous driving and DUI. On December 3, 2020, another city magistrate, Rondel Weever dismissed the causing death by dangerous driving charge.
It was alleged that on February 8, 2020, at Georgetown, Best drove Land Cruiser PRR 8182 in a manner dangerous to the public, thereby causing the death of Bentley. He had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on $500,000 bail pending trial.
Magistrate Weever had rendered a 30-page ruling in which she highlighted several weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In dismissing the case, Magistrate Weever held that the prosecution’s case contained many gaps that the court could not fill, and to do so, she pointed out, would be inviting the court to speculate.
According to the Magistrate, a crucial element in the prosecution’s case was not established, that is, whether Best was driving dangerously on the day in question.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, has filed an appeal asking the Court of Appeal to set aside and/or reverse the decision of Magistrate Weever. The Court is yet to fix a date for hearing that matter.
According to reports, Bentley was reportedly struck down and run over by the vehicle driven by Best on Clive Lloyd Drive near the Russian Embassy turn in Georgetown. The accident occurred around 04:00h.
Reports are that both Best and Bentley were travelling in an easterly direction. It was alleged that Bentley, who was at the time cycling to meet a group of cyclists, suddenly appeared in front of Best’s vehicle. Best had claimed that he applied brakes, but the right side of the front of his vehicle hit Bentley, who was knocked onto the roadway.
Best has on numerous occasions publicly expressed condolences to the family of the dead man. Best is an Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform PNCR and a former Presidential Advisor under the David Granger Administration. (G1)