by Donella Hosten
It was a chaotic scene in the yard of the St George’s Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, as Grenadians came out in their numbers to catch a glimpse of the 17-year-old boy who took a 9-year-old girl.
The yard was filled with over 20 police officers clad in bullet-proof vests and armed with guns and batons, in an effort to protect the accused from the masses who were obviously angered by the situation.
The accused was initially passed through the back entrance of the court when he arrived. The young man well-dressed in a long-sleeved blue shirt, appeared to be quite calm as he passed under the protection of the police. However, when leaving he was literally sheltered by police who were seen running with him to protect him from the angry masses. It was a very disturbing scene as police officers forcefully pushed back onlookers in order to protect the prisoner.
Persons were openly airing their views as to what they think should happen to the accused and some were even calling for the death penalty to be implemented.
Members of the media were stopped from entering the #2 Magistrate’s Court, as the sitting involved a minor – the accused. There he was read the charge, and as the matter is an indictable offence, was not allowed to plea.
This case has caught the attention of many, one such individual who was at the court yard, was the Public Workers Union’s Public Relations Officer, Brian Grimes. Although, not representing any specific organisation, Grimes described this as a landmark case. “It’s a watershed moment in our history and it’s an opportunity for us to make some serious legislative changes.”
He believes that as a nation, Grenadians have to observe their culture and social habits to do something for the betterment of the nation’s children. He said looking at the pictures of the deceased child circulating on social media really touched him, therefore he will continue to look keenly at what is going on and how the situation is being dealt with.
Additionally, Grimes stated that the PWU, since the spate of recent child abuse cases in the public domain, is committed to doing their part as a responsible union. “Based on what has happened…this tragic event, we saw it fitting that we start a petition for the establishment of a Sex Offenders Registry.”
Grimes said they understand that this problem with sexual molestation and the interference of the nation’s children is not something that can be unilaterally approached by government or any one individual or organisation. However, this is an opportunity for social changes to be made and the PWU will put their stamp towards this.
The accused juvenile, who was slapped with the charge of Capital Murder, will make his 2nd court appearance on Tuesday, 5 December 2017.