After three weeks under evaluation at the Mental Health and Rehabilitation Centre (MHC), model Yugge Farrell has been granted bail and her trial adjourned to the end of the year.
Despite the intermittent rain showers yesterday morning, not a single seat was left in the Kingstown Magistrateâs Court for the continuation of Farrellâs hearing.
When 23-year-old Farrell arrived, she clutched her handbag and sat on a seat offered by her mother, showing no signs of the irregularities in behaviour she had displayed the last time she was in court.
The matter was soon called, but it was quickly stood down, due to the absence of complainant Karen Duncan, who the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams stated had not been given timely notice of the court date.
Burnett then stood down the matter to await the arrival of the complainant.
Inquiring into the continued absence of the complainant, the magistrate commented that he could not understand how she would not have been notified.
âThe message was sent, but not delivered,â the DPP started explaining, but was interrupted by the message that Duncan had arrived.
Both parties now in their respective witness boxes, the magistrate read his decisions on the submissions made last week to the DPP and Farrellâs new lawyer, Queenâs Counsel Andrew Pilgrim, from Barbados.
At Farrellâs last court appearance on January 22, defence counsel Grant Connell had asked that the report of the psychiatrist should not be accepted by the court, as the doctor who signed it was not, in his opinion, a psychiatrist. Further, that the plea of ânot guiltyâ could not be disturbed by the report, as the plea was made before the report.
While saying that he as magistrate did not have power to overrule an order by another magistrate, and that right remained with a higher court, Burnett stated, âMagistrate Pompey made an order which this court must be bound by, unless that order has been vacated or set aside by the court that has power to do so.â
He said he accepted the qualifications of the doctor responsible for the evaluations.
âThe report dated 19th of January 2018, was submitted to the court by Dr Sonasree Jammulapati. The court was in receipt of the qualifications of the doctor….Having perused the documentation submitted on the doctor, I am satisfied that the court should accept her report as having been prepared by someone who is qualified in the field of psychiatry.
âThe court is minded to give effect to this report, and to give effect to the contents of the report,â he stated.
On the matter of the plea, citing a law text, Burnett recited, âA defendant must be fit to plead. If he is mentally incapacitated, it is apparent that he may be not able to give full instructions to his lawyer, nor may he appreciate the consequences of a particular plea.â
However, he reiterated that he would not be able be able to vacate the plea, as he did not have powers to do so under the Magistrateâs Court Act.
âIt therefore seems that having held that the defendant was unfit to plead, that plea that was taken on the 5th January 2018, and which still remains as an unequivocal plea, may amount to a nullity,â the magistrate concluded.
A new psychiatric report was presented in court, one also reportedly signed by Dr Jammulapati, which made certain recommendations on treatment; it, however, was not read in court.
Notwithstanding, SEARCHLIGHT has learned that the new report advised that Farrell be discharged from the MHC and receive outpatient care instead.
The DPP stated that his only concern was related to the last paragraph on treatment. Defence counsel Pilgrim took this to mean that there was no objection to bail, and responded that, âIf the magistrate wishes to give bail, and terms set, I think we can all be happy that the matter is to be addressed in terms of treatment.â
Burnett obliged with the request, saying, âI am minded to grant the defendant bail in the sum of $1,000, with one surety, and to adjourn this matter to the 17th of December,â and the matter was adjourned.
Meanwhile, outside the court, the crowd was waiting feverishly for the verdict.
âThey send she back out? They send she back out? Oh Godâ¦free Yugge, free Yugge, free Yugge. Oi, yes, yes,â they chanted.
In contrast to her tears last week, the modelâs sister emerged from the court room with a smile on her face and hands raised in triumph.
Gailene Farrell, mother of the defendant, also came out saying she felt glad and stood by her daughterâs sanity.
âMe child aint crazy. Because I work with she, I work with my child, I work with she whole time, planting food, planting peppers. She plant so much ah pepper, I the one who used to reap them and go and sell.
âWatch! My yute only get a likkle stress, stress! Stress is what my youth get, you know; everybody could get stress, because right now me get stress,â she continued with the crowd behind her every word saying âyes, yesâ, âbut me only a hold up because everybody dey around.â
However, Farrell did not greet the throng, being swiftly carried away through the back door of the court to the vehicle of her former lawyer Grant Connell.
On January 5, Farrell was charged with causing a breach of peace by using abusive language, to wit âyou dirty bit*hâ, to Karen Duncan, wife of Minister Finance Camillo Gonsalves, on January 4.
After her first appearance in court on January 5, Farrell was sent to the MHC by magistrate Bertie Pompey for a two-week evaluation, on the request of the prosecution.
Following those two weeks, Farell was once again committed to the institution after the first medical report before senior magistrate Rickie Burnett stated that she was not fit to plead.
Burnett said then that he needed time to consider submissions made by Farrellâs defence counsel.(KR)