Bermuda Public Services Union President Jason Hayward is relieved that the court case stemming from the airport protest in December has been halted. But he said it’s still not over.
The decision was handed down by Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo in Magistrates’ Court yesterday after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Larry Mussenden informed the court that the Crown will not be proceeding with the case.
When contacted by Bermuda Real this morning, Mr Hayward said: “I am relieved that this ordeal has come to an end for me, however we still have a number of Brothers still before the courts and satisfaction will not be reached until they receive justice.”
The DPP followed a similar course taken last week in the case of ten airport protesters who opted for trials in the Supreme Court. The defendants included Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert, and People’s Campaign advocate the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. All ten defendants were bound over to keep the peace for six months and released.
Speaking on their behalf after the ruling by Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves, Queen’s Counsel Jerome Lynch claimed “a victory for common sense”.
He noted that the ruling did not carry an admission of guilt, and that the charges were 110 years old and more than likely had never been used before. Mr Lynch also said: “This has no impact on the misuse of pepper spray on demonstrators who await the outcome of an internal police inquiry with interest, but with little confidence.”
One of the ten defendants said proceeding with a trial would have been “a total waste of the taxpayers money and the court’s time”. While noting that he didn’t know how many witnesses the Crown would have called, he said: “We had at least 100 witnesses ready to testify on our behalf.”
Mr Hayward was the only one charged who opted for a trial in Magistrates’ Court. His lawyer, Charles Richardson said what transpired on December 2nd was regrettable.
Like Justice Greaves, Magistrate Tokunbo warned that the Crown could still bring the matter back before the courts. But he said there’s no doubt that lessons have been learned from the events that unfolded as a result of the protest outside the House of Assembly last year.