Gary Best walks free on drunk driving charge

Former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief-of-Staff, Gary Best was today freed on a drunk driving charge by Magistrate Clive Nurse. This was after the Magistrate upheld a no-case submission made by his lawyer, Nigel Hughes.

When the matter was called this afternoon, the Magistrate in coming to his decision stated that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of the offence.

He added that there was no evidence that the breathalyzer test used on Best was approved by the subject Minister and that the Minister authorized the police constable to use the device, in keeping with the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act. Accordingly, the Magistrate dismissed the charge against Best.

Best lawyers in their submission of no case to answer contended that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to prove the elements of the offence- driving under the influence (DUI).

On December 3, 2020, trial Magistrate Rondel Weever dismissed the causing death by dangerous driving charge against Best in relation to the death of former national cyclist Jude Bentley who was killed in an accident.

Among other things, the Magistrate held that the prosecution failed to prove that Best was driving dangerously on the day in question.

It was alleged that on February 08, 2020, at Clive Lloyd Drive, East Coast Demerara, Best drove motor car PRR 812, in a manner dangerous to the public, causing the death of Bentley. At the time of the accident, Police had said that Best was under the influence of alcohol.

Reports are that Bentley, 41, was killed on the Rupert Craig Highway in the vicinity of the Russian Embassy in Georgetown, as he was heading east along the stretch of road.

Reports are that Bentley was hit from behind and dragged several feet by the Land Cruiser which was being driven by Best.

Reacting to the court’s ruling, Best had told reporters that he was happy at the outcome of the matter. He said that he was relieved as it has now been proven that he did not cause the death of the former national cyclist and that he was not driving dangerously.

Days after the matter was dismissed, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Senior Counsel Shalimar Ali-Hack filed an appeal challenging the decision of Magistrate Weever.

The Court of Appeal is yet to fix a date for hearing the case. Best is an Executive Member of the PNC/R and a former Presidential Advisor under the previous APNU/AFC Government.