Commissioner of Police v Percy Thomas

JudgeEDWARDS, J.A.,Justice of Appeal,Justice of Appeal [Ag.],Ola Mae Edwards,Michael Gordon, QC,Davidson Baptiste
Judgment Date18 November 2009
Judgment citation (vLex)[2009] ECSC J1118-1
CourtCourt of Appeal (Anguilla)
Docket NumberMCRAP 2008/001
Date18 November 2009
[2009] ECSC J1118-1



The Hon. Mde. Ola Mae Edwards Justice of Appeal

The Hon. Mr. Michael Gordon, QC Justice of Appeal [Ag.]

The Hon. Mr. Davidson Baptiste Justice of Appeal [Ag.]

MCRAP 2008/001

Commissioner of Police
Percy Thomas

Ms. Vernette Richardson for Appellant

Ms. Paulette Harrigan for Respondent


This is an appeal by the Commissioner of Police against the decision of the Magistrate who on 6th November 2008, tried and dismissed the respondent on four (4) complaints Nos. 494 to 497 of 2007.


The respondent was charged by the appellant on 12th December 2007, for committing the following offences on 3rd July 2007, at Long Bay Public Road in the Island of Anguilla.

  • (i) No. 494/07: resisting arrest by PC Roger Phillips in the execution of his duties contrary to section 226 of theCriminal Code C 140.

  • (ii) No. 495/07: obstructing PC Roger Phillips in the execution of his duties contrary to section 351 of theCriminal Code C140.

  • (iii) No. 496/07: taking part in a prohibited procession for which a permit had not been obtained. Contrary to section 14(b) of thePublic Order Act at P. 150

  • (iv) No. 497/07: inciting persons to take part in a public march contrary to section 15 of thePublic Order Act Cap. P 150.


The reasons for appealing in the Notice of Appeal are as follows:

  • (a) that the decision is unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence;

  • (b) that the decision was erroneous in point of law in that:

    • (i) complaint number 496/07 was duplicitous;

    • (ii) the Court refused to grant an amendment to complaint number 496/07 after the Court determined that it was duplicitous;

    • (iii) there was no evidence to support complaint 497/07;

    • (iv) there was insufficient evidence to support complaint number 494/07

  • (c) that the judgment or sentence was based on a wrong principle or was such that the Magistrate viewing the circumstances reasonably could not properly have so decided.


Upon dismissing the four (4) complaints the learned magistrate bound over the respondent to keep the peace in the sum of EC$1,000.00 in his own recognizance with his consent without any statutory basis for doing so.


The evidence marshaled by the respondent at the trial disclosed that the respondent, a known activist who in the past had been involved in lawful public marches and demonstrations authorized by the Commissioner of Police, on 3rd July 2007, at about 8:30 a.m. led a public march by approximately 300 Indian workers from the Viceroy Project. These marchers had received no permit from the Commissioner of Police to engage in their protest march along the West End Road to the Valley because of low wages. Police Officers were dispatched from the Police Headquarters to stop the unlawful march.


The five (5) police officers who testified gave conflicting accounts about how the respondent came to be arrested by PC Roger Phillip who did not testify; although they all deposed that the respondent who was at the head of the marchers made a gesture and spoke loudly and aggressively including that he would not desist or heed the police request.


PC Lake testified that PC Phillip arrested the respondent for leading an illegal march.


PC Bryson said that PC Phillip told respondent he was arresting him to prevent a breach of the peace.


PC Charles testified that PC Phillips told respondent he was arresting him for breach of the peace.


PC Ichol Mockett's evidence was that PC Phillip told respondent he was arresting him to prevent a breach of the peace.


There was also conflicting evidence about the respondent's conduct after PC Phillip arrested him, which led to the charges of resisting arrest and obstructing the police in the execution of his duties.


The learned magistrate stated at paragraph 41 of the judgment that:

"The Court also felt that the Prosecution case was somewhat conflicting and based on its observation of the witness relied on the evidence of Inspector Sinclair and PC Ichol Mockett and where their evidence conflicted with other witnesses preferred to rely on their evidence."


The magistrate stated that he was not satisfied so that he could feel sure that the defendant in fact incited anyone who was not already involved in the march as the march showed no sign of great planning or preparation. There was no evidence that the respondent was involved in its planning or preparation; or that he was a worker.


The learned magistrate found that:

"There was certainly evidence that PC Phillips and others immediately, and somewhat prematurely… jumped to...

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