More than two months after Former Army Chief of Staff and PNCR Executive Member, Gary Best was charged with causing the death of former national cyclist, Jude Bentley who was killed in an accident, the prosecution has not disclosed statements to him so that a trial can commence.
The trial into the charge for causing death by dangerous driving will be heard by Magistrate Rondel Weever. Best’s next court date is May 28, 2020, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
More than likely, at that hearing the prosecution will provide the court with an update on the status of the statements. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the judiciary has resorted to conducting audio-video virtual hearings.
Best was not required to plead to the charge which alleged that on February 8, 2020, at Clive Lloyd Drive, Greater Georgetown, he drove motor vehicle PRR 8182 in a manner dangerous to the public, causing the death of Bentley.
It was further alleged that on the same day and at the same location, he drove motor vehicle PRR 8182, when his blood alcohol level was 85 micrograms. He pleaded not guilty to this charge and was released on his own recognizance (self bail).
He is being represented by prominent lawyer, Nigel Hughes, who was able to secure his bail in the sum of $500,000 on the causing death by dangerous driving allegation.
Hughes, on his client’s first appearance, had asked that he be released on reasonable bail, given the fact that he served 34 years in the Guyana Defence Force. Hughes had told the court that his client is a former Presidential Advisor, and poses no risk of flight.
However, Police Prosecutor Delon Sullivan had objected to bail being granted to Best on the grounds of the serious nature of the allegation and the penalty the charge attracts.
The Prosecutor had told the court that when Best was arrested, he was found to be above the legal alcohol limit.
However, Magistrate Faith McGusty granted Best bail citing that she is of the opinion that Best is well known to society and if he attempts to abscond his trial it might be difficult for him to hide.
The Magistrate added that she is of the opinion that he will attend court for his trial.
Condition of the bail is that he must lodge his passport and report to the Traffic Headquarters once a month until the hearing and determination of the trial.
On February, 8, last, Bentley was riding his cycle around 05:00 hrs—heading east on the Clive Lloyd Drive when he was struck and killed.
At the time of the accident, he was proceeding to Sheriff Street to meet a group of cyclists.
In Best’s statement to the police, he claimed that the cyclist was riding without reflective gear and his cycle was not equipped with lights, making it difficult to see him in the dark.
However, this claim has since been proven to be untrue by a motorist, who released a dashcam footage of Bentley just a few minutes before he was killed.
The video showed Bentley wearing reflective gear and his cycle had lights.
In fact, these items were discovered—mangled at the scene of the accident.
What was not found though is the dashcam footage on Best’s black Land Cruiser.
Best claimed that the camera was not working at the time of the deadly accident.