Ex-soldier on assault charges offered bail

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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AN ex-soldier, who reportedly stalked his ex-lover and assaulted her and her boyfriend on separate occasions, was on Tuesday offered $200,000 bail.

The accused, 50-year-old Richard Saunders, who operates a welding shop, was remanded for psychiatric evaluation when he appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court last month.

When he returned to court onTuesday, before applying for bail, his attorney Anthony Pearson informed the judge that his client's psychiatric assessment found that the former member of the Jamaica Defence Force was fit to plead and that his behaviour had improved greatly.

According to the allegations, in the first incident, the 50-year-old complainant was about to make a purchase at an ice cream company on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew, when she heard someone behind her saying, “Explain this”.

The complainant reportedly turned around and saw that it was Saunders, then proceeded to buy the item.

However, it was reported that while paying for the sweet treat, the complainant felt an impact to her right eye. She reportedly received several blows to her face, resulting in a swollen nose. Three men reportedly intervened and pulled Saunders away from her. She subsequently reported the matter.

In the second incident, which allegedly occurred on June 3, Saunders' ex-lover and her 23-year-old boyfriend went to a fast-food establishment at a plaza in St Andrew.

The young man reportedly left his companion in a car and went inside the restaurant. However, while standing in line, someone allegedly held him around his neck from behind and asked, “How long you think you could a run for?”

The puzzled complainant, on seeing that it was Saunders, responded by asking what he meant but was allegedly slapped in the face.

“A you mash up mi family and mek mi youth a mad,” Saunders reportedly told the complainant before allegedly hitting him in the face again.

The complainant reportedly became fearful as he knew Saunders was a licensed firearm holder. The complainant tried to leave but was reportedly prevented from doing so.

Security guards inside the establishment reportedly held onto Saunders and told the complainant to leave, and he complied.

The alleged offender was subsequently arrested and charged with assaulting a woman and assault occasioning bodily harm.

But during Saunders' bail application on Tuesday, Pearson told the court that his client did not assault the complainants and that aspects of the allegations were not true.

Pearson said that contrary to the prosecutor's account that his client was in possession of his firearm on the day of the incident with the male complainant, Saunders had locked the weapon in a safe at home.

He also denied reports that security guards had intervened that day, saying instead that a customer intervened and told the two men to take their dispute outside.

The prosecutor, however, told Parish Judge Maxine Ellis that the police were objecting to bail on the grounds that the complainants' safety would be at risk.

The judge then asked Pearson if his client was dealing with his jealousy issues and he said that his client had resolved those issues and has moved on.

Judge Ellis, after warning the accused that she was minded to put him on house arrest, offered him bail on condition that he reports to the Duhaney Park Police Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and that he stays away from the Molynes Road area, which is where the complainants live.

The matter was then set for mention on September 26.

— Tanesha Mundle

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