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Thursday 22 August 2019
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Marlene, co-accused still to get bail

Marlene McDonald
Marlene McDonald

FIRED deputy political leader of the PNM Marlene McDonald is yet to access her $2million bail, along with her partner Michael Carew and two others.

McDonald, who is hospitalised at the St Clair Medical Centre for an unknown ailment, remains there. Carew, along with Victor McEachrane and Edgar Zephyrine, are in prison waiting for their bail to be approved. The bailors for the four will try again to secure their bail today.

McDonald was charged, along with Carew and McEachrane, with attempting to defraud the government by procuring funds for Carew's Calabar Foundation, which was identified as a charity group.

Carew was granted $500,000 bail. Zephyrine, former National Commission for Self Help Ltd chairman, was granted $1 million bail and McEachrane was granted $400,000 bail.

A fourth man, Wayne Anthony, was the only person to access his bail of $100,000 on Monday and was allowed to go home.

McDonald, who is also Port of Spain South MP, was removed as deputy political leader yesterday by the Prime Minister. She faces seven charges: two for conspiracy to defraud, four for alleged misbehaviour in public office and one for money laundering.

A former senior state attorney told Newsday yesterday that McDonald's being hospitalised is very peculiar, as it concerns her unattained bail. McDonald, who did not appear in court on Monday, was granted bail in absentia (in her absence) after the court heard, through her attorney Pamela Elder, SC, that she was in hospital.

The attorney said, usually when an accused person is taken to court and granted bail but unable to access it by the end of the court day, they are given a remand warrant that would allow the prison to take them.

McDonald never appeared in court, and the former state attorney said that was where the peculiarity lay, as she could not access bail before being discharged from hospital, and so a remand warrant could not be issued.

A defence attorney said the first issue was that the charges were read concerning McDonald although she was absent, which in itself was rare for first appearances. The defence attorney added that McDonald, if discharged, should be taken to prison until her bail is processed.

A senior magistrate told Newsday that if she is discharged before the bail is approved, McDonald will have to be taken to court immediately and the charges read to her, since the court cannot issue a remand warrant to prison in absentia. As long as McDonald remains hospitalised while her bail is being accessed, she is safe from both police and prison custody, the senior magistrate said.

Newsday was informed it usually takes a few hours to approve a deed to be used in the granting of bail. The justice of the peace or clerk of the peace usually calls every court to ensure the deed was never used. The value of the deed must also exceed the bail amount set.

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