Bail granted to prisoner on remand a day before general elections
A prisoner on remand for a wounding charge was granted bail the day before general elections after the prosecution presented no further objection to him being set free.
Therefore, while Larry Abbott would likely not have been able to vote had he remained in prison, if he found a surety to sign his bail then he may have exercised his right to vote on November 5.
On Monday, November 2, Abbott was brought to the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, charged for, on October 30, in Green Hill, unlawfully and maliciously wounding Kimolorn Spencer by allegedly shooting him in the back with a fish gun.
As the victim was still in the hospital, the prosecution, as is customary, sought to object to Abbott being allowed bail until a report was received on the victim’s medical condition. The adjourned date was going to be next Monday, November 9, after elections had taken place.
However, the prosecution chose to bring this date up to Wednesday, November 3, something they chose to do after Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett raised a question.
The magistrate questioned whether arrangements were made for prisoners on remand, which would be individuals like Abbott, to vote.
Accused persons on remand are awaiting the outcome of their matters but have not secured bail.
A corporal in the court said that for his 22 years of service he had never seen it done.
Burnett had stated that it did not seem right to him “Because the person (on remand) may well come to court and you may hear that the prosecution is no longer proceeding, or the complainant is no longer proceeding, or the court may deem the person to be not guilty…and the person has been denied an opportunity to cast their vote.”
Lawyer Ronald Marks was also given an opportunity to weigh in on the question, and noted “It’s a good matter to be tested” as it concerns constitutional rights.
For Abbott, he was given the opportunity after returning on Wednesday, November 4. He was granted bail of $2000, with one surety, and a no contact order with Spencer was ordered. He will return to the court on February 8.
The Representation of the People Act disqualifies prisoners serving sentences from being registered to vote, but does not speak to those not serving sentences.
An official at Her Majesty’s Prisons confirmed that “For the duration of my time here it has never happened; I don’t think it will be different this time (the general elections of November 5).”