Less than 24 hours after her lawyers publicly predicted that the charge of wounding the Prime Minister would be withdrawn against Annamay Lewis, the prosecution did so on Wednesday, September 15.
“I knew that this was coming. My client spent four days at jail with this bogus, trumped up charge and we will decide what steps we’re going to take….” defense counsel Kay Bacchus-Baptiste commented at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) on Wednesday.
The prosecution had just announced that they were withdrawing the charge that Lewis, on August 5, in Kingstown, unlawfully and maliciously wounded 75-year-old Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves. Gonsalves received a laceration to the head from an object thrown at him as he walked to Parliament on August 5. The wounding was the first of two charges that Lewis, a 56-year-old vendor from Layou received for alleged events on August 5.
The court’s decision triggered rejoicing and celebrating for the defendant.
Outside the courtroom, raising her arms and waving them to and fro in praise, she proclaimed “Thank you Jesus, Alleluia. Weeping may endure for a night, joy this morning. God is a good God, he never give me a spirit of fear. Thank you Jesus. He said in Exodus 14, he will fight for my rights. Thank you Jesus, thank you God,”Lewis said with raised hands “Alleluia, Alleluia. Thank you Jesus. Weeping may endure for night…I know the God that I serve. I know the God that I am going to, thank you Jesus. I know the God that I am calling upon, thank you Jesus. He said in Exodus, he will fight for Anniemay, and this morning here I am. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. May God have his mercy upon my life. Oh I serve you, I continue serve you Lord, I’m not giving up, thank you Lord,” continued Lewis who was decked in red.
She also told the media that she had prayed that morning, saying to God, “If You know I do it, judgment belongs to You. If I know I ain’ do it, You will forgive me,” adding, “And this morning, here I am.”
“I know I didn’t do it but weeping may endure for a night, but is joy this morning.”
When she left the premises, Lewis and a group walked down the street together singing more praise.
In the days leading up to the withdrawal of the charge a video surfaced and spread like wildfire across social media. It purported to be of the protest in question. Lewis’ lawyers have said that a video, titled, “Footage from St Vincent Building and Loan”, has been disclosed to them concerning the accusation that their client, on August 5, by the White Chapel Road in Kingstown, threw missiles to the danger of persons who were present at White Chapel road at that time.
“…A little stupid clipping cannot show you what happened, cannot tell you the story,” Bacchus-Baptiste said at a press conference held at her office on September 14.
Counsel Israel Bruce, who appeared alongside his senior counsel in the matter, was also present at the press conference.
He stated, “I want to say to all those who took to Facebook, and who started the condemnation and who heralded the rhythm to be flown on social media; I am predicting today, publicly, that the state will drop the charge against Annamay Lewis for wounding Dr Gonsalves, and the charge that they’ve brought for throwing missiles, that that is the charge that they will proceed against her on.
“Why? Because they know there is no evidence for them to make out the charge that they laid against Miss Lewis, none.”
Bacchus-Baptiste contemplated that the police had only sought to proceed on a confession from their client, which the defence said is a false confession.
Outside the court on Wednesday, September 15, reacting to the decision by the prosecution, Bacchus-Baptiste stated, “I said from day one that Annamay Lewis did not throw a stone at the Prime Minister, and did not hit him, I maintained it. They therefore had a problem.”
She speculated that “Having extracted a false confession from her, they actually took her to the hospital to ask for an apology and because I intervened and I told her to stand up for her rights, she declared her innocence, they had nowhere to go.
“I am not surprised. Because I know they have no evidence against her, in that particular charge.”
Lewis will return to court on January 4, 2022, for possible trial on the charge of throwing missiles.
“ We would be able to deal with that too. We’ll be able to deal with that, I have no fear about that,” the lawyer said, adding “…That is not a charge to be brought in this court.”
The defense received disclosure on Tuesday with regard to that charge, and the lawyer indicated to Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett, “There’s a video involved, I haven’t even discussed it with my client, I haven’t seen her since.”
So while the prosecution was not in a position to proceed to trial this week, Bacchus-Baptiste indicated that neither was the defense.
“We certainly can’t because we haven’t had a chance to look at what we got so I won’t be objecting to her adjournment,” the defense lawyer said.
The lawyer also asked for a confession which she said was part of the evidence for the wounding charge to be disclosed to them with respect to the charge of throwing missiles.
Crown counsel Renée Simmons who is not usually stationed at the KMC but has been handling matters there temporarily, said that she had no instructions in relation to this.
“I have noted what counsel has said, I’m not familiar with the (case) file to make comments on it. I would speak to the learned DPP(Director of Public Prosecutions) about it and we would get back to her…” Simmons concluded.