$15,000 bail each was granted to 3 Dominicans charged with forgery, uttering false documents, deception
$15,000 bail each has been granted to three (3) Dominicans charged with forgery, uttering false documents, and deception. Mathew Peter Burton Jr. of Jimmit, Ann-Marie Cornelius Letang of Jimmit and Asha Ashbert Edwards of Castle Bruce have been slapped with those charges. All 3 co-defendants appeared before Magistrate Bernard Pacquette at the Roseau Magistrate Court on Monday 25th January 2016, where the charges were read to them.
According to the charges read, on 24th November 2016, the defendants maliciously issued for the purpose of fraud, documents using a Nagico Insurance letterhead. It was noted that the defendants issued a job letter and a salary slip. They were not allowed to enter a plea as the matters are indictable. The prosecution initially objected to bail for Burton Jr. & Letang on the grounds that investigations were ongoing, & that they were potential flight risks, while bail was opened to Edwards.
Attorney David Bruney, who represented Burton Jr. and Letang, told the court that the prosecution was behaving in a discriminatory manner. “Three people charged with the same offence, bail is open for one, but withheld for two … it’s a bit discriminatory … the two charged with the same offence are being victimized,” Bruney told the court. Bruney added that Letang is the mother of small children and should be granted bail in order that she is able to take care of them. Speaking to the grounds given by the prosecutor for which bail should be denied, Bruney told the court that the prosecution has not given the court any evidence to suggest that his clients are flight risks.
Magistrate Pacquette, who agreed with Bruney’s submission, noted that as far as he is concerned, the argument that “investigations are still going on” is not a valid ground on which bail can be withheld. “If investigations are still ongoing, don’t arrest. Do like the CIA, they watch you and watch you for years and when they arrest you there is no escaping … Bail is a fundamental right and there must be reasonable evidence for it to be denied,” Magistrate Pacquette said. The prosecution later conceded, and opened bail to all three defendants. Each defendant was granted bail in the sum of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000). The preliminary inquiry into the matter is scheduled to take place on May 9, 2016.
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