DPP appeals court ruling on Gary Best

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Former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best

On the request of a family member the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on Monday filed an appeal against the freeing of Former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Rear Admiral (ret’d) Gary Best on a causing death by dangerous driving charge.

Best is accused of causing the death of former national cyclist Jude Bentley.
The appeal comes days after the court upheld a no case submission by Best’s attorneys.

In a joint press release last Friday, Attorneys-at-Law, Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels and Sophia Findlay said that public comment and interpretation may detract from the expositions of law within in the Court’s judgment. Therefore, they placed the details of the judgment, made by Magistrate Rhondel Weever, in the public domain for thorough examination.

First highlighted was the breathalyzer test taken by Best on the day of the accident. The Court found that the breathalyzer device had not been calibrated in over a year. Added to that, the Police officer who testified disclosed — in his own words — that the results of the test are considered unreliable if the machine is not calibrated every six months.


According to Paragraph 97 of the judgment, as seen by the Village Voice News, the device used by Police Constable #23734 Travis Peniston told the Court that “the results are considered unreliable.” The Court therefore stated that it is “duty-bound” to place no weight on the breathalyzer test and rejected the evidence altogether.

Furthermore, there was no eye witness to the accident. All that was available was video footage and 51 seconds were unaccounted for between the time the Bentley entered Clive Lloyd Drive and when the Best’s vehicle emerged in the view of the cameras.

“Even if there is such a law or case, there is no evidence to establish which side of the road Jude Bentley was riding on during those 51 seconds prior to collision. Mr. Junior Blair [Detective Inspector of Police] testified that from Lamaha Street North footage he was unable to say which side of the road the cyclist was on while riding behind the Embassy,” the judgment states.

In the ruling, the Magistrate referred to the video footage as “the silent, trustworthy, unemotional, unbiased and accurate witness”. According to the Court, the footage did not disclose how the accident occurred as the view of Clive Lloyd drive was obscured by the fence and tree at the old Russian Embassy.

The Attorneys stated that the Court also delved into the place of the collision. The accident occurred on the right lane of the road but when Bentley entered Clive Lloyd Drive he was riding on the northern (left lane) of Clive Lloyd Drive.

However, there was no indication provided to the Court of how or when the cyclist changes lanes from the northern lane to the southern lane of Clive Lloyd Drive. The judgment references “the crucial 17 seconds” of the video footage which could have cleared up how the accident occurred but this was not visible from the video’s angle.

According to what Best told the police on the day of the accident, the cyclist appeared “suddenly in front of him as he was proceeding East on the Southern drive lane along Clive Lloyd Drive.”

The Magistrate also examined Section 46 (1) of Chapter 51:02 of the Laws of Guyana which states that the right lane of the highway is the lane reserved for overtaking. Added to this, there was no evidence to refute the Best’s oral statement to the Police about how the accident occurred.

Hughes, Daniels and Findlay stated on Friday that it is their hope that the following information may assist in the discourse generated by the decision of Magistrate Weever.

It was the Court which ultimately concluded: “This Court finds that the Prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against the Defendant for the Offence of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.”

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