Unreliable breathalyzer test results, no eyewitness led to dismissal of charges against Gary Best- Magistrate’s ruling explains

An unreliable breathalyzer device was among the reasons charges against former GDF Chief-of-Staff, Gary Best were dismissed. Best’s lawyer Nigel Hughes in a press statement clarifying why the charge was dismissed against Best explained that the device, “device had not been calibrated in over one year.” Best was charged for causing the death of former national cyclist Jude Bentley  On Thursday, City Magistrate Rondel Weever dismissed the charge against Best, noting that the prosecution failed to prove that he was driving dangerously.

Bentley, 41, was killed in an accident on February 08, 2020, involving Best who was at the time driving a black Land Cruiser. The accident occurred at Clive Lloyd Drive in the vicinity of the Russian Embassy turn in Georgetown. Best, an Executive Member of the PNC/R, was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Police had said that following the accident, a breathalyzer test conducted on Best found that he was above the legal alcohol limit. He pleaded not guilty to both charges and was out on $500,000 bail pending the hearing and determination of a trial.

Th defective device was confirmed by the the testimony of a police rank and was among the many issues taken into consideration by the Magistrate in her ruling. Hughes explained that at paragraph 97 of her judgment, Magistrate Weever noted that a  police officer disclosed in his own words that the results are considered unreliable if the machine is not calibrated every six months. Hughes said too there were no eyewitnesses to the accident and the police relied on video footage. In the ruling, Hughes said the Magistrate referred to the video footage as “the silent, trustworthy, unemotional, unbiased and accurate witness”. Hughes said. The video footage was unable to show how the accident occurred as the view of Clive Lloyd drive was obscured by the fence and tree at the old Russian Embassy., “there were 51 seconds unaccounted for between the time [Bentley] entered Clive Lloyd Drive and when the vehicle emerged in the view of the cameras,” Hughes said as he explained the ruling.

With regards to the place of collision, Hughes said too that the accident occurred on the right lane of the road. He explained that when Bentley entered Clive Lloyd Drive he was riding on the northern (left lane) of Clive Lloyd Drive, “there was no indication of how or when the cyclist changed lanes from the northern lane  to the southern lane of Clive Lloyd Drive,” Hughes added. The lawyer pointed out that the right lane of the highway is the lane reserved for overtaking as prescribed in Section  46 (1) of the Chapter 51:02 of the Laws of Guyana. In light of the circumstances, Hughes noted that there was no evidence to refute Best’s oral statement to the Police  about how the accident occurred.

On Thursday, Best had told reporters that he was happy at the outcome of the matter. He said that the evidence has proven what he was saying all along- that he was not driving dangerously, nor did he deliberately caused the death of Bentley. Best expressed that it was a very unfortunate incident and he is hoping that the aggrieved family can move on.

READ the Magistrate Weever’s ruling here.

Peter Gary Best – Ruling on Submission of no case to answer_