Teacher charged with preventing PM from going to Parliament
A TEACHER who has been suspended from her job as she goes through the court system on multiple protest related charges,faced another charge last week, namely that she obstructed the Prime Minister from going to the House of Assembly.
Adriana King, a teacher at the St Vincent Grammar School, appeared in the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court(KMC) on Friday morning, September 10, after being released the night before on station bail. ` At the court the charge was read to her that she, on August 5, in Kingstown, being a stranger, did obstruct Ralph Gonsalves, a member of the House of Assembly, from going to the precincts of the House of Assembly.
Lawyer Israel Bruce who represented her, is part of a team of lawyers including counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste who are working on the case.
Bruce submitted that King is a civil servant who is currently on half pay. He commented that he did not know if in the circumstances she would be placed on no salary by the end of the day. He then requested a short adjournment so that she could be placed on her regular salary in a reduced time.
However, the court schedule is packed, and it will not be sitting in October and early November, therefore the best arrangement that could be worked out was to place the matter on the same date as one of the multiple other similar matters that the same legal team is handling.
Disclosure of the relevant documents from the prosecution to the defense is slated to take place by October 25, while this matter is adjourned to November 17.
Lawyer Bruce, speaking to the media outside of the KMC, contemplated, “the reasonable thinking person would ask themselves, how could a single woman, Adriana King, prevent Ralph Gonsalves, who was armed with approximately 40 police officers, securing him both on his left and his right, how did this single woman overpower all these police officers to the point that she prevented Ralph Gonsalves from entering the precincts of the Parliament?”
On August 5, the Prime Minister was returning to the evening session of Parliament when he was struck on the head by a missile said to have been thrown by a protester.
He received initial treatment at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and was flown to Barbados that same evening for an MRI.
The counsel who is also an opposition senator also noted, “You know I find it rather amazing, there was a video that circulated a bit a few months ago when I was seeking to exit the Parliament and there was a little face-off with the Commissioner of Police because I was demanding that I be not locked into the precincts of the Parliament, and there were those who found that rude and crude and had all kind of things to say about it. Nobody was charged for preventing me as a member of Parliament from leaving the precincts of the Parliament.”
Bruce also said that his client will not be silenced.
“Adriana King is not one of the Vincentians who you are going to silence by virtue of bringing her to the court ever so often. In fact what you are doing is that you are emboldening her, you are strengthening her resolve to fight for democracy, justice, and equality in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Therefore, he advised, “Back off, cease and desist, stop harassing Adriana King and let her speak out on issues that are affecting her.”
Answering a question posed about his application for a shorter adjournment, Bruce said that some matters on which they are representing persons with similar offences have already been adjourned to 2022, and this is September 2021.
“She has a child to take care of you know, let me say it in the local parlance. She got pickney too and she haffu mind she pickney. So I have to look out not only for the legal but also the social and existential rights of my client and her independence,” the lawyer said.
King had no comment to make.
This is the second time that the teacher is appearing before the court within a month. On August 16 she was charged that she, on July 29, was concerned in organising, a public procession without notifying the Commissioner of Police at least 24 hours before the procession, and that she took part in this public procession in contravention of Section 5, sub section (1) of the Public Order Act.
Additionally, she received two of similar charges but in relation to a procession held on August 5.
These matters were also adjourned to November 17.