Veteran lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste is wondering why fashion model Yugge Farrell was not charged with blackmail and other serious crimes over a letter Farrell is alleged to have written and delivered to three government offices.
âWhy was no charge brought against Yugge? Blackmail carries a maximum sentence of 14 years and then there is the Cybercrime Actâ, Bacchus-Baptiste told reporters at a media briefing on Wednesday at Democrat House.
Farrell was arrested on Thursday, January 4 for causing a breach of the peace by using abusive language, namely using the words âdirty b**châ to Karen Duncan, the daughter-in-law of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves. This incident is alleged to have occurred while the model was in the process of hand delivering a letter to Duncan, containing the word âblackmailâ and which demanded money by a given date.
In the letter, a copy of which SEARCHLIGHT has seen, allegations of murder, among other crimes, are made.
Duncan, a lawyer attached to the Attorney-Generalâs Chambers, is the wife of Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Bacchus-Baptiste, the New Democratic Partyâs (NDP) candidate for West St George, said that according to Prime Minister Gonsalves, Farrell issued a blackmail letter to his family.
âHe said that he himself has seen the letter; he said that it was given to the police and that $50,000 was demandedâ, said Bacchus-Baptiste, who is calling on the Gonsalves to explain what the blackmail issue is about.
âYou donât normally blackmail people about lies. You blackmail people about something that you are holding over them, and you are saying pay me or I will tell the truth,said Bacchus-Baptiste, who thinks that blackmail is a very serious offence on the statute books of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
âBlackmail is action treated as a criminal offence of demanding money from someone in return for not revealing compromising information which he has about them,â cited Bacchus-Baptiste, who noted that persons use this act of compromising information to blackmail people into giving them money, a position, a scholarship or holding them to ransom.
âSo, blackmail is usually regard to as demanding hush money. The large question for this public to ask is what is it that is being asked? Why is this family being asked to give out money? What is the hush issue? What is the compromising information?â questioned Bacchus-Baptiste, who thinks that these are serious and valid questions.
She said that the Prime Minister said that Farrell wrote, âblackmailing or attempting to blackmail his familyâ and that the police had a copy of that letter, but no charges were brought.
She said that instead of the more serious charges of blackmail, defamation and other charges under the Cybercrime Act, a lesser charge was brought against Farrell and that seems odd to her.
âYou wait to bring a charge of abusive language, which carries a charge of three months in prison, maximumâ¦ you come with some little nebulous offence of abusive language, a word like b**ch, which is used every day almost and then you take a young a lady and send her to a mental institution without the proper evidence,â commented Bacchus-Baptiste.
The veteran lawyer added that she thinks that the magistrate acted beyond his power as under the law, once Farrell pleaded, there was no reason for magistrate Pompey to inquire about her sanity.
âSo, he should have not listened to the police and send her to the mental institution unless there was a proper enquiry,â said the lawyer.
Farrell, 22, of Buddy Gutter, Lowmans Bay, is currently at the Mental Health Centre, where she was sent by magistrate Bertie Pompey for psychiatric evaluation. She will return to the Kingstown Magistrateâs Court on Monday, January 22.(LC)