Gary Best to know fate on DUI charge on Feb 9

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Senior Magistrate Clive Nurse has fixed February 9 to rule on whether a case has been made out against former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff, Rear Admiral Gary Best for the offence of driving under the influence (DUI).

Police Prosecutor Sanj Singh on Wednesday laid over a written submission to the court in response to a submission of no case to answer presented by Best’s lawyers Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels, and Sophia Findlay. The lawyers are contending the prosecution has failed to prove the elements of the offence, and as such, the charge should be dismissed.

On December 3, 2020, Magistrate Rondel Weever dismissed a causing death-by-dangerous-driving charge against Best. It had been alleged that on February 8, 2020, at Georgetown, he drove Land Cruiser PRR 8182 in a manner dangerous to the public, causing the death of former national cyclist Jude Bentley. At the time of the accident, Police alleged that Best was under the influence of alcohol.

In dismissing the charge, Magistrate Weever held that the Prosecution’s case contained many gaps that the court could not fill, and to do so would be inviting the court to speculate. According to Magistrate Weever, a crucial element in the Prosecution’s case was not established, that is, whether Best was driving dangerously. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack has since filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal asking that the Magistrate’s decision be set aside.

According to reports, Bentley, 41, was struck down and run over by the vehicle driven by Best on Clive Lloyd Drive near the Russian Embassy turn in Georgetown. The accident occurred around 04:00h.

Reports are that both Best and Bentley were travelling in an easterly direction.

It was alleged that Bentley, who was on his way to meet a group of cyclists, suddenly appeared in front of Best’s vehicle. Best had claimed that he applied brakes, but the right side of the front of his vehicle collided with Bentley, who was knocked onto the roadway. Police reported that Best was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Best is an Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and a former presidential advisor under the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.