Charge withdrawn for woman accused of wounding SVG PMWednesday, September 15, 2021
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – The prosecution on Wednesday withdrew the wounding charge against Annamay Lewis, the woman who was accused of striking Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves in the head on August 5 during a protest in Kingstown.
“Hallelujah! Weeping may endure for a night but joy this morning. God is a good God. He never give we a spirit of fear. Thank you, Jesus,” Lewis said after exiting the Kingstown Magistrate's Court.
Flanked by former ambassador under Dr Gonsalves' Unity Labour Party administration, Doris Charles, who has called for the 75-year-old leader to demit office, Lewis quoted Exodus 14, saying God will fight for her rights.
“I know the God that I serve. I know the God I am going to. I know the God I am calling upon. Thank you, Jesus. He said in Exodus he would fight for Annamay, and, this morning, here I am,” Lewis said.
The withdrawal of the charge came a day after Lewis' lawyers, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste and Israel Bruce, predicted that the prosecution would take that course of action.
“I think this underscores the point I have been making all along that these cases, including all the cases they have brought recently against the protesters, are political cases,” Bacchus-Baptiste said after Wednesday's court hearing,
“The police is busy using their time watching videotapes and trying to find evidence to arrest protesters rather than doing the business of solving real crime,” she said.
The investigation was led by the nation's chief detective, head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Superintendent of Police Clauston Francis.
“It is very disheartening to have the head of CID being involved in her arrest and…and then the charge is dismissed,” Bacchus-Baptiste added.
Crown Counsel Renee Simmons withdrew the wounding charge against Lewis when the matter came up for trial at the Kingstown Magistrate's Court.
This means that Lewis, a 56-year-old vendor of Layou, would only now be tried on a charge that on August 5, in Kingstown, in a public place, she threw missiles to the danger of persons who were present.
Simmons told the court that she was not ready for trial in the remaining matter and asked for an adjournment.
Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett set trial for January 4, 2022.
Bacchus-Baptiste asked the court to order disclosure of a “confession” that Lewis reportedly signed after she was taken into custody as her lawyer was trying to find out where police had taken her.
The prosecution said she would have to speak to her superiors and get back to the defence team.
The lawyer stated that the “confession” would have implications for the remaining charge against her client.
“Their game plan was to force Annamay into a forced confession then take her to apologise to the Prime Minister,” Bacchus-Baptiste said of the police.
She further noted that Dr Gonsalves, speaking from Barbados where he went for medical attention after the injury to his head, said he had the evidence about who was behind the assault and that the nation would hear about it.
Bacchus-Baptiste further noted that the Prime Minister said he held Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday personally responsible for his injury.
“When a Prime Minister can make these statements about the Leader of the Opposition and don't follow up and then the case against the woman is dropped, Vincentians have to stop and wonder what is going on,” the attorney said.
The lawyer said that police had tried twice to get Lewis to go to Dr Gonsalves and “confess” to striking him.
She said that they did so on August 5 after arresting her late in the night and then the next day when Prime Minister Gonsalves was initially scheduled to return home.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that when she went to the CID in Kingstown on August 6, police were getting Lewis ready to go to the airport to meet with the Prime Minister and she stopped them.