Court: Butterfield & Perinchief Trial Begins

October 25, 2017

[Written by Don Burgess ]

A trial that features an alleged illegal firearm, ammunition, and illegal drugs started in Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Jermaine Butterfield and Kimmisha Perinchief are charged with the importation of a prohibited firearm, importation of ammunition, conspiracy to the importation of cannabis, and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.

The trial began with the 10-woman, 2-man jury hearing the testimony of an officer from the Bermuda Police Service’s Organised and Economic Crime Unit. The jurors were also shown CCTV footage from two cameras from May 2015.

In it, Filipino national Romonito Adlawan, then a seaman aboard the Somers Isle, is seen passing through the docks and its security building to walk along Front Street to the parking lot across from the Super Mart at approximately 9:18 p.m.

In his walk to the parking lot, a bike drives past him headed west down Front Street. This same bike, around a minute later, is seen heading east on Front Street.

This bike is then shown driving past Mr. Adlawan in the parking lot, which then changes direction. He waits near the crosswalk opposite the Super Mart before getting into a vehicle allegedly driven by Mr. Butterfield. Before the car can fully exit the parking lot, the footage shows the Police Service blocking the vehicle to prevent it from leaving.

Both Mr. Butterfield and Mr. Adlawan were arrested at that time with Ms. Butterfield being arrested later.

In cross-examination, Mr. Courtenay Giffiths, QC, who represents Mr. Butterfield, asked the officer if Mr. Adlawan had been searched before leaving the security building of the docks.

The officer said, “From my experience, they are to submit to be searched but not necessarily be searched.”

He added that security does not search everyone who leaves the docks through the security building.

Representing Ms. Perinchief, Barrister Susan Mulligan asked the officer if he could determine the licence plate number of the bike or if he could determine, the height, weight or facial features of the driver of the bike and he said no.

In earlier testimony, the offucer said that Mr. Adawan had switched directions walking in the parking lot after the bike crossed his path. But he agreed that Mr. Adlawan took six to eight steps before changing direction.

He also agreed that he didn’t see any interaction between the rider of the bike and Mr. Adlawan.

Afterwards, two Constables, who were both working with the Police Support Unit at the time, gave testimony of their accounts with the incident as they were two of the three officers in the unmarked police car which stopped Mr. Butterfield’s vehicle from leaving the parking lot.

One alleged that Mr. Butterfield threw a quantity of cash from his hand when he exited the car and added Mr. Butterfield “pulled away from me” and he subsequently took him to the ground with a foot sweep.

At 1:45 am on May 6, a Constable led a search team to the cabin of Mr. Adlawan on the Somers Isle securing more evidence, which included a Nokia cellphone and an electronic notepad among other items.

The Constable went to the passenger side of the stopped black car and took Mr. Adlawan to the ground. In taking him to the ground, the Constable said there were several black packages on the inside front and inside back of the suspect’s jacket.

One of those bundles felt like a firearm. Also, the Constable took three cellphones off of Mr. Adlawan.

The defendants deny the charges and the trial continues.

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