Judge Charles-Clarke
Judge Charles-Clarke

A jury returned formal verdicts of not guilty against a woman charged with two counts of theft when her trial, the first for 2019, at the Roseau High Court, came up before trial judge Justice Veronica Charles-Clarke last week.

The young mother, Nadisha Drigo-Denizene, who first appeared before Judge Charles Clarke at the January 2017 criminal assizes before losing her counsel Wayne Norde finally had Norde and his partner, Gina Abraham, take up her case as friends of the court when the trial came up for hearing on Monday, January 21, 2019.

Drigo- Denizene was charged with theft of animal feed and medicine from Animal Feed Centre at Portsmouth between April 25, 2014 and March 7, 2015 in the sum of $82,753.55, and theft of $16,382.20 from the same company between the dates April 25, 2014 and March 7, 2015.

During the trial, Norde asked for, and received, an adjournment to the following day to look at the deposition. When court resumed on Thursday January 24, 2019 it was revealed that the accused or her lawyer had not been given the opportunity to cross examine two of the State's witnesses who gave evidence at the preliminary inquiry in keeping with the Magistrate Procedural Act.

Justice Charles-Clarke agreed that there was a breach of the procedure in the Magistrate Court and that the prosecution had failed to satisfy the court that it was not a mandatory breach. She upheld the objections made by defence counsel.

On the Thursday morning when the jury was present Judge Charles-Clarke had the Director of Public Prosecutions, Evelina Baptiste, address the jury that the prosecution had withdrawn the indictment against the accused. Counsel Norde had no objection. The judge then ordered that the indictment be quashed.

The judge advised the nine-member jury to return verdicts of not guilty on both charges since the accused had been put into their charge on Tuesday January 22.

Nadisha Drigo-Denizene "was free to go" because the prosecution had withdrawn the indictment against her.

Concealing birth

Meanwhile, a young woman from a south eastern community will return to court on Friday, March 22, 2019 to face sentencing for concealing a birth.

Represented by lawyer Noreen John, the woman pleaded guilty to endeavouring to conceal the birth of a child by secretly disposing of the child on January 13, 2013 in a southern community.

Asked a few questions by Justice Victoria Charles-Clarke at the Roseau High Court on Friday January 25, 2019, the woman agreed that "I did that act" and by "pleading guilty I will be sentenced by the court." The judge ordered a social inquiry report and psychiatric assessment report.

The young woman's bail was allowed to continue with conditions attached. Bail revoked

Justice Charles-Clarke also revoked bail and issued bench warrants for two men who failed to show up before her at the Roseau High Court last Friday.

One man was charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault, and the other, Kenroy Paul of Portsmouth, who was to be sentenced on drug trafficking and possession.