|Mom arrested for keeping child sex victim away |
AZARD ALI Thursday, January 12 2017
A WOMAN who refused an order of the court, that she produce her daughter - the alleged victim of sexual assault - to the court so the child could testify against the accused man who is her step-father, has been arrested and was yesterday brought to the San Fernando Magistrates Court in handcuffs.
The middle-aged woman stood before Senior Magistrate Nanette Forde-John who in December, issued a warrant after the child failed to turn up in court for the case.
In a previous sitting, the man’s lawyer Jeevan Rampersad argued in a no-case submission that his client be freed on the grounds that the virtual complainant (the 12-year-old child) is no longer interested in the case as she has been repeatedly absent from the court.
It was then that Magistrate Forde- John issued an arrest warrant for the child’s mother who had ignored a summons to attend court with the child. The woman was arrested last week. Magistrate Forde-John yesterday asked the woman to explain her action saying that disobeying an order of the court could attract as severe a punishment as jail. The mother claimed that both she and her daughter suffer with asthma and were too ill to attend court.
The accused who is out on bail has been attending court at each sitting ever since he was arrested and charged in 2014.
“You were informed to bring the juvenile to court as a witness.
Did you relay this information that you were ill, to the court,” the magistrate asked yesterday. The mother said she took the child to a health centre. She then produced a document which was handed to the magistrate. Magistrate Forde- John then asked court prosecutor Cleyon Seedan his view on whether it would be prudent to keep the mother in custody until the case is called again, next week Tuesday.
Seedan said he would arrangements for the female police officer who laid the charge against the accused, to liaise with the mother to ensure the child is brought to the court for the next hearing. Magistrate Forde-John placed the mother on $10,000 own bail and instructed her to return to court with the child on January 17.