DEFENCE ATTORNEY, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste has requested a statement from Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves as he is the person her client is alleged to have attempted to obstruct from entering the precincts of the House of Assembly.
She said at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) on Friday, March 4, that the disclosure is not complete without such a statement.
Bacchus-Baptiste also said that there are videos the prosecution gave in other matters, videos showing the Prime Minister going to Parliament on that afternoon of August 5, and was asking that they also be included.
The lawyer also asked for a time limit to be given for their amended statement of the charge. The charge against her client, Adriana King, was just amended on that day from obstruction, to attempted obstruction.
Prosecutor, Corporal Corlene Samuel noted, “What is important is that the charge is put to the defendant in court and it is read to her. Once she responds to it, she enters a plea. She is aware of the reason why she is before the court.”
The prosecution informed Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett that they had disclosed (provided to the defence the evidence and statements from witnesses that they will use in their case) what they had.
“If counsel is aware of something, she has the right to obtain it and bring it before the court,” the prosecutor pointed out.
“She cannot demand of prosecution to get her statements or videos. She could get it and bring it before the court if she needs that to defend her case,” Samuel concluded.
Bacchus-Baptiste rose afterwards and responded that she was “amazed” that the prosecution will take an “attitude” as if she is fighting them, stating that this is their case.
The Senior Magistrate told her, “Mrs Bacchus- Baptiste, they have to prove their case.”
The defence lawyer said she was aware, “And I am giving them the opportunity because this is a travesty of justice.”
“Counsel allow the prosecution to prove its case before the court please,” the magistrate said, noting, “It’s their case.”
In light of the amendment to the charge the magistrate said that he was going to grant the adjournment as this is the process to give the defendant a chance to do certain things that may be necessary.
“Counsel, prosecution” Burnett addressed them, “…the court is always here. Attempt to agree on a date that the court can adjourn this matter to.”
The prosecution allowed the defence to give a date.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that she was looking at Wednesday, March 30 and this was accepted.
Therefore, the matter was adjourned to March 30.
Outside the court building, the lawyer said it was her opinion that the amendment of the charge to that of attempted obstruction was “totally ridiculous.” “Clearly they don’t have a case, clearly they recognise that, so they have decided to say it was an attempt merely – absolutely ridiculous,” she commented.
She said that she wanted the videos of the Prime Minister going to Parliament because she believed it would reveal the case
against her client to be false.
In the case of the statement that was requested, the attorney said, “If he (the Prime Minister) was obstructed, he should know he was obstructed.”
“No statement from the Prime Minister, but they want to come with just one police officer – with a short, ridiculous statement – to convict my client,” she added.
The lawyer, who was also a candidate for the Opposition in the last general elections and was previously a Senator of the New Democratic Party(NDP), declared that she was “…fed up of the politics in this country, I’m fed up of the victimisation and it has to stop. Is it Russia and Ukraine all over again?”
She admitted to being angry that morning.
“We came here to take a certain course because I recognise that that case they have there was bound to fail,” she posited, “they recognised it and so they trying to come with something else; an attempt to obstruct. How vague could that be?”
Her client, King was previously on five charges related to protests on July 29 and August 5, 2021. However, four charges accusing her of being concerned in organising a public procession without notifying the Commissioner of Police (COP), Colin John at least 24 hours before the procession and knowingly taking part in a public procession/meeting in contravention of section 5(1) of the Public Order Act were erased by a Nolle Prosequi on December 6.
The charge of obstruction that had been laid against her in early September 2021, persisted until its amendment on Friday.
In response to how the court process has been affecting her, King, a teacher said “It’s been affecting me in a number of ways. Unsettled nights, just worrying about how this thing is going to pan out.”
There are also financial implications, she said, “… Because I am still on halfpay, I’m not allowed to teach, it would go against the civil service code if I were to gain another job somewhere to make my ends meet.
“So it’s been physically traumatising, emotionally traumatising and of course, my finances are suffering,” she concluded.