Tue | Apr 7, 2020

‘Stupidity of the highest order!’ - Chief justice chastises prison head, warns against contempt of court

Published:Friday | February 28, 2020 | 12:26 AMDanae Hyman/Staff Reporter

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes yesterday threatened to issue an order to hold the head of the Horizon Adult Remand Centre in contempt of court when alleged members of the King Valley Gang failed to turn up for trial.

According to Sykes, it was disclosed to him that correctional officers prevented the prisoners from leaving the compound to attend court.

“I am going to be issuing an order to him because this is contempt of court. He is holding up the proceedings of the court, so I need to know his name and his rank so I can issue an order,” the judge said.

However, a prosecutor assigned to the case later reported that one of the accused, Derval Willliams, was exhibiting symptoms of chickenpox. Another inmate was diagnosed with chickenpox on Wednesday.

The prosecutor said that the correctional officers may have stopped the inmates from leaving the facility owing to the concern about chickenpox.


“This is poor leadership. This is stupidity of the highest order. If he is showing symptoms, the proper thing to do is to have him seen by the proper medical authority, and if the person is seen to have the illness, a note should be sent to the court. If the superintendent cannot resolve this issue, then what’s the point?” Sykes said.

When a medical officer arrived later at the facility, it was confirmed that the accused was indeed suffering from chickenpox and a letter would be sent to the court.

Based on the doctor’s recommend-ations, Justice Sykes adjourned the trial for two weeks.

Attorney Everton Bird was expected to address the court yesterday on behalf of his client, Copeland Sankey.

Derval Williams, Lindell Powell, Copeland Sankey, Rannaldo McKennis, and Christon Grant are on trial for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) 2014, commonly called the Anti-Gang legislation, in relation to crimes committed between 2016 and 2018.