(DOMINICA NEWS ONLINE) — Gavin Hapgood, a US citizen, has been granted bail after being charged with the manslaughter of Dominican, Kenny Richie Marty Mitchel.
At the time of the killing, Hapgood was vacationing with his family at an Anguillan resort where Mitchel worked.
According to the Anguillian newspaper, the death certificate stated that the cause of death was due to prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso.
Hapgood was taken into custody by Anguillan authorities where he was to be held in remand until 22nd August 2019.
The Royal Anguilla Police Force magistrate’s court reported on April the 17th that Hapgood’s defense requested bail which was set at $200,000 E.C.
While Anguilla police initially reported that bail was denied, information began circulating that bail was in fact granted the same day.
It has also been reported that Hapgood has since left Anguilla.
DNO attempted to contact the Royal Anguilla Police Force seeking clarification but we were advised that the media officer who was authorized to speak on the matter, will not be available until Tuesday due to the Easter holiday.
However, we were referred to the Royal Anguilla Police Force’s Facebook page where we found the following statement that seems to confirm the reports:
“We are not shrouding the case in mystery we are bound by rules and so are others on what can be said. We have charged a man in connection with the death of Mr Mitchell. The court granted bail and we now prepare for the Court process and eventual trial.”
This is in contrast to their release on March 17 via Facebook which was titled “44yr Old American Male Charged for Manslaughter”
It sated, “Garvin Scott Hapgood 44 yr old male was arrested and charged for the offence on manslaughter. Mr. Hapgood appeared before the magistrate court today Wednesday April 17th 2019 where an application was made for bail on his behalf. Upon hearing the application, bail was denied and Mr. Hapgood was remanded to Her majesty prison to return to court on Thursday August 22nd 2019.”
In the latest Facebook post on the matter from the Anguilla Police Force, Commissioner Paul Morrison states, “The Courts deal with bail and there is a presumption in favour of a grant of bail. At all times, until convicted there is the presumption of innocence.”
The statement goes on to say, “Justice can only be served when a guilty man is convicted and an innocent man is not, and that is decided before the Court and were the rules of evidence and law preside and not in social media where there are no rules”.