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Protesters demand justice for Shanoya

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Relatives and friends of 13-year-old Shanoya Wray, whose dissolved remains were found in a house in Mona, St Andrew in July, yesterday protested outside the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, calling for the accused killer and his co-accused to be denied bail.

The protest coincided with a court hearing for Trinidadian-born schoolteacher 27-year-old Sanju Maharaj, and 19-year-old Harbour View, Kingston, resident Leonardo Madden, who are charged with murder and accessory to murder, respectively.

Attorney Peter Champagnie, who is representing Madden, had indicated on the last occasion when the accused man appeared in court that he was going to apply for bail at the next hearing. However, yesterday, the attorney instead asked for a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

Champagnie told Parish Judge Vaughn Smith that after visiting his client on a number of occasions, he is of the view that psychiatric evaluation is necessary.

Attorney Norman Manley, who is one of three lawyers representing the Trinidadian, asked for the matter to be transferred to the Committal Court, given that the post-mortem result, which in this case does not have the cause death, was the only outstanding element of the case. The judge agreed and the matter was transferred from the mention court. Both accused men were subsequently remanded and are scheduled to return to court on October 12.

Queen's Counsel Tom Tavares-Finson and Donahue Martin also represent Maharaj, but were absent yesterday.

In the meantime the small group of protesters, who had gathered in front of the courthouse while the matter was being heard, also called for justice.

“We want justice,” and “Sen' him out mek wi kill him,” they chanted repeatedly.

The irate protesters were adamant that Maharaj should not be granted bail.

“Right now mi feel upset, mi dark and ignorant; mi feel it to mi heart,” said one woman who indicated she was Wray's cousin.

Another woman, who gave her name as Veronica Headman, said: “The girl get murder. Acid pour pon har body and melt har. Yesterday was her funeral and we didn't get no body fi bury — wi nuh want him get no bail; him fi rotten in deh. Nuh because him people have money and him can get how much big lawyer. Wi need justice.”

The two men were arrested on July 20 after the skeletal remains of the teenager were found in a bathtub at a property on Whalley Close in St Andrew.

Wray reportedly left her home on July 15 without her relatives' knowledge, and five days later her remains were found at Maharaj's home.

At the time of Wray's death, Maharaj had a sexual offence matter before the court in which she was the complainant, stemming from allegations that she was found at his home last October.