Lawyers ask court to throw out DUI charge against Gary Best

Gary Best in the company of his lawyer Nigel Hughes
Gary Best in the company of his lawyer Nigel Hughes

Lawyers for former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Rear Admiral, Gary Best are now asking the court to dismiss a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) against him.

His legal team led by Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes has laid over a submission of no-case to answer in which it is being contended that the prosecution has failed to establish the elements of the offence.

The prosecution will reply to the submissions tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

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.

In throwing out the case, Magistrate Weever held that the prosecution’s case contained many gaps that the court could fill, and to do so would be inviting the court to speculate. According to the Magistrate, a crucial element in the prosecution’s case was not established, that is, whether Best was driving dangerously.

Reacting to the dismissal, Best had expressed that he is happy that the matter has now come to an end. He had said, “I just hope that both families can move on – my family and his family – and I hope that we can now move on. We have gone through a lot, and I am happy about the court’s decision.”

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, has since filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal expressing her dissatisfaction with the Magistrate’s decision which she is asking the court to 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 at around 04:00h.

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

It was alleged that Bentley, who was at the time cycling along Clive Lloyd Drive in Georgetown 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 PNCR and a former presidential advisor under the previous APNU/AFC Government.