ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The media personality charged with molesting a teenager made his first appearance before a magistrate yesterday and was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison.
Last week, the 50-year-old man received station bail on an indecent assault charge. However, the court declined to regularise it when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, yesterday.
During the bail hearing before Walsh in St John’s Magistrates’ Court, the man’s attorney, Ralph Francis, made forceful pleas for his release.
Based on the chief magistrate’s policy about sexual offences committed against under-aged children, bail was denied.
The station bail was in the sum of $10,000 with no other conditions.
Francis told the court that his client was charged two weeks ago with an offence that does not exist.
He said the man was charged under the Offences against the Person’s Act and not the Sexual Offences Act. However, that error has been rectified and the correct charges were filed before the court yesterday.
The attorney also lodged a complaint that the name of the accused has been broadcast on public radio and television, which is not allowed under the Act (Sexual Offences).
The name of a person charged with a sexual offence can only be published at the conclusion of a trial and if the person is found guilty by a jury; or if the person admits to the offence before the court.
Francis was at odds as well with the manner in which the single charge was drafted. According to him, the charge was lacking information and the accused does not know what he is before the court for allegedly doing.
Chief Magistrate Walsh advised the attorney that the charge is “drafted perfectly” and reminded him that details of the offence would be revealed in the depositions (witness statements) and during the trial.
The police are alleging that on June 12, the night of the Antigua versus Jamaica football match held at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, while taking home the 13-year-old victim, the 50-year-old man molested her.
The matter has been set for committal proceedings before Senior Magistrate Asquith Riviere on August 21 because the alleged offence occurred between Gunthropes and Parham – District B.
Meantime, Walsh chastised the police for what she called “the irregularity done at the station” in granting the man bail for an indictable offence.
Walsh told the head of the police’s prosecution department, Inspector Albert Chastenet that the police should not grant bail to anyone charged with a sexual offence.
The chief magistrate made reference to a similar case in which a man charged with indecent assault and serious indecency was brought before the court last Friday. He was not granted station bail but was remanded also.
Walsh said that everybody who is charged should be dealt with equally.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)