No sign of third man as kidnapping trial set to open

| 24/02/2011

(CNS): The crown has succeeded in an application to have Richard Hurlstone tried in his absence along with co-defendants Allen Kelly and Charles Webster for kidnapping, assault and blackmail. The trial which relates to an incident that took place in North Side in March 2010 was due to open on Wednesday morning in Grand Court but with Hurlstone still nowhere to be seen the crown had asked to continue prosecuting the case against him despite his not being there. The absent defendant is though to have absconded to Honduras and the judge hearing the case ruled that it was evident that Hurlstone had voluntarily chosen to be absent and was well aware of his trial date, and ordered that the crowncould go ahead and start the trial without him.

However, the decision threw up other legal questions relating to his co-defendants and resulted in furtherlegal applications which have delayed the start of the trial.

The three men are facing six counts against them which relate to the same incident in which the men allegedly kidnapped a young man and asked his parents for a ransom of $500,000. The kidnapping however went wrong when their victim escaped some 36 hours after being abducted and was able to raise the alarm.

Hurlstone, who was given bail in August, was revealed to have absconded in December. When he failed to appear at Bodden Town police station the alarm was raised and police learned from immigration records that his wife and children had left the jurisdiction for Honduras. It was also later revealed that Hurlstone had sold personal property on the local classified website and a family member told the police that he had left the island. The defendant had posted surety and had his passport seized by the courts but police say they believe he is not in Honduras.

The crown’s goal is to try Hurlstone not just in his absence but at the same time as his co-defendants in order not just to save public money but also to save witnesses from having to go through the ordeal of testifying twice.

The case is now expected to open at noon on Thursday


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