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Victims ‘have rights, too’

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

Victims ‘have rights, too’

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The complainants have rights as well.

This was the declaration from Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant who stressed that it wasn’t only the accused who had rights in the judicial system.

“I sit here every day and I hear it (talk about the rights of the accused) and frankly I am tired of hearing about it,” the magistrate declared.

Cuffy-Sargeant was dealing with the case of Iscah Mordecai Legall who was before her in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Legall, 34, a porter, of Husbands Gardens, St James, was not required to plead to causing serious bodily harm to Tammy Davis with intent on April 26.

He had, however, pleaded guilty to having cannabis on the same date.

Sergeant Cameron Gibbons renewed the prosecution’s objection to Legall being released, saying Davis still feared for her safety.

But the accused man’s attorney, Safiya Moore, said if the prosecution had concerns about the woman’s safety, it should have brought her to court so she could say that to the court.

The attorney submitted the accused did not live anywhere near the complainant and there was no reason for them to “integrate”.

Moore questioned how much longer would the accused be kept in custody against the rights guaranteed under the Bail Act and argued he could be released with any number of conditions.

“I am always hearing about the rights of the accused but I hardly hear about the rights of the (complainant),” Magistrate Cuffy-Sargeant noted.

“It is the (complainant) who has suffered an injustice in the eye of the (complainant). We have to balance justice,” the magistrate declared.

Stressing that the matter was serious, the magistrate said only three months had elapsed since the accused was initially brought to court and “we are already speaking about the rights of the accused”.

“This is a serious matter. The victim must be protected, but not only the victim but members of society must be protected,” Cuffy-Sargeant said, adding the court had also taken into consideration that the accused was known.

The magistrate remanded Legall to HMP Dodds until July 20. (HLE)