Missing warrant leads to man’s release

December 01, 2022

Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque on Tuesday ordered the release of a man who was in lock-up after he failed to attend court to answer to the charge of conspiracy to murder.

The man, Michael Panchan, was arrested on a warrant after court records show that he failed to attend court for the serious matter that was brought against him in 2017.

He was arrested at his home in St Catherine and placed in custody at Hunts Bay Police Station. However, he could not be brought before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court as the warrant authorising his arrest could not be found.

Panchan's attorney-at-law, Davion Vassell, made a habeas corpus application before Cole-Montaque for his client's release. He argued that the failure to produce the warrant resulted in the unlawful detention of Panchan.

Panchan spent 20 days behind bars while the state officials searched for the missing document.

"He has been in custody since then and no one has said a word in English to the man," Vassell said.

The judge upheld his submissions and ordered the man's release.

"We can't play with people's liberty like that," she said.

The conspiracy to murder matter, in which Panchan is a co-accused, is to be tried in the Supreme Court. He is currently out on bail.

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