High Court throws out Sgt Bascom’s judicial review case against DPP


The case filed by embattled Police Sergeant Dion Bascom, against Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack accusing her of overstepping her powers, has been dismissed by the High Court, which determined that there were insufficient grounds for judicial review of the DPP’s decision.

Handing down the decision on Friday to dismiss the case was High Court Judge Damone Younge, who ruled that while not unlimited, the DPP still has very wide powers to discontinue criminal proceedings – such as when she discontinued the private criminal charges Bascom filed against Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, prompting him to take the DPP to the High Court.

Bascom had taken Blanhum to court over claims that during a press conference hosted at Eve Leary on August 17, 2022, Blanhum made false statements against him that subjected him to public ridicule.

According to Justice Younge, in her ruling, however, Bascom presented no evidence to back up his assertions that the DPP acted in bad faith and improperly. Further, she noted that while Bascom claimed the DPP did not reach out to him or his lawyer regarding the private criminal proceedings, there is actually no legal requirement for this.

“The applicant has also complained of not receiving a response to his letter dated September 29, 2022, requesting the respondent [give] the reasons for her decision to withdraw the private criminal charge. There is likewise no legal requirement for reasons to be given,” Justice Younge said in her judgement.

She cited the case of Gladys Tappin v Francis Lucas (1973), pointing out that the Chief Justice had said that the DPP is not constitutionally required to give any reasons for a decision nor hear any representations by someone who has filed private criminal charges.

“The rules of natural justice are, therefore, excluded by necessary implication.’ Based on the authorities already cited, the failure of the respondent to provide those reasons would not be sufficient cause to review her decision,” the Justice noted in her ruling.

Justice Younge noted in closing that while the DPP’s decision to withdraw a criminal charge is subject to review, this only occurs in exceptional or rare cases. In light of this threshold not being met by the applicant, Justice Younge dismissed Bascom’s case and ordered him to pay the respondent $150,000 on or before July 22, 2024.

Sergeant Bascom was among several persons arrested by the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) on August 8, 2022, after a quantity of cocaine was discovered at a house on Norton Street, Georgetown.

While a charge for trafficking in narcotics was laid against some of the persons, none was laid against Sergeant Bascom. Bascom subsequently made several Facebook live videos in which he made damning allegations of corruption against several senior Police detectives and prominent businessman Azruddin Mohamed.

Bascom had alleged that Police ranks accepted bribes and were “covering up” the murder of Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes. He later deleted the posts.

Acting Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief Blanhum had held a press conference where they debunked Sergeant Bascom’s allegations, calling them “malicious and untrue”.

Additionally, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had solicited the assistance of the Regional Security System (RSS) to investigate the claims made by Sergeant Bascom.

The RSS, in pronouncing on the matter, had made it clear that there was no evidence to substantiate Sergeant Bascom’s claims. The team also found that the two live recordings made by Bascom were in contravention of Section 19 (5) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act.

Businessman Mohamed, who, from the onset, had distanced himself from the allegations, subsequently filed a $200 million defamation lawsuit against Sergeant Bascom, in which he contended in his Statement of Claim that the words and statements uttered by Bascom are all untrue, false, dangerous, disingenuous, malicious, irrational, unfair, unsubstantiated, unfounded, and baseless, thereby tarnishing and lowering his reputation.