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Shamal Smith knew he ran errands for a wanted man, court hears

Shamal Smith knew he ran errands for a wanted man, court hears

The third person charged with harbouring the recently recaptured prison escapee Jose Almestica is alleged to have ran errands for him and knew he was hiding from the police.

Shamal Smith, a 31-year-old Billing and Admission Officer with the BVI Health Services Authority, joins his sister Renee Smith and Jennifer Smith, who are also charged with harbouring.

He was denied bail when he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The prosecution alleged that Shamal told police officers when questioned, that he knew Almestica was a wanted man as he had seen articles in the news about it.

However, Shamal’s lawyer, Stephen Daniels, told the court his client did not inform the police that he knew Almestica was wanted in the Virgin Islands.

Daniels said his client informed officers that he knew Almestica was wanted in another jurisdiction and not the Virgin Islands. The attorney also noted his client had no knowledge the prisoner had escaped Her Majesty’s Prison as he left the territory in November 2017, shortly after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The court was told Shamal did not return to the Virgin Islands until last year.

Young friendship

The prosecution further alleged that Shamal would also run errands for Almestica. The court heard that he had told police officers he met Almestica in 2020 in East End and they became friends.

It was also said that Almestica would frequently visit Shamal’s home in Fort Hill. The prosecution told the court on November 29 that a telephone number belonging to Almestica made a call to a local restaurant for a meal.

It was said Shamal collected the food in a blue Mazda, which also transported Almestica. The prosecution alleged the car belonged to Shamal’s sister, Renee.

The prosecution said a search warrant was executed at Shamal’s residence and a television set and other items similar to what was seen in Almestica’s apartment were found.

It was also said that documents related to two motorcycles found at Almestica’s apartment in Ballast Bay were also recovered at Shamal’s residence.

Shamal, who is a US Virgin Islands citizen, faces up to 14 years imprisonment if he is found guilty of the offences. His matter was adjourned to February 2, 2022.


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