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Magistrate grants accused $40,000 bail

Magistrate grants accused $40,000 bail

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Once her two sureties are accepted today, Stacia Aberdeen will be released on $40,000 bail.{{more}}

Aberdeen, 24, a public servant employed at the Income Tax Department, who appeared before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court last week on four counts of theft of government funds, was yesterday slapped with a further 50 charges of theft of government funds.

Those charges were also laid indictable; she therefore was not required to plea.

The new charges are related to offences alleged to have been committed between March 2010 and December 2010. For each of these charges, Aberdeen is alleged to have stolen between $100 and $500. Corresponding with each of these charges, she has other charges of falsifying receipts.

The Green Hill resident first appeared in court on Monday, August 29, on two counts of theft and two counts of falsifying receipts.

Aberdeen’s re-appearance in court yesterday was scheduled for bail review, as the prosecution, last week, requested a one-week adjournment, noting that more charges were likely to be laid against the woman.

Based on last week’s charges, Senior Magistrate Donald Browne initially set bail at $15,000, with one surety.

However, yesterday, prosecutor Inspector Glenford Gregg once more objected to bail.

Gregg told the court that the prosecution was not objecting to bail because they want to keep Aberdeen in prison, but because she was deemed a flight risk.

Gregg indicated that it was the vigilance of the police that stopped Aberdeen from fleeing the country. When she appeared in court last week, Prosecutor Inspector Nigel Butcher informed the court that Aberdeen had been making an attempt to leave the country via speed boat.

Inspector Gregg further pointed out that it was a fact that a bag had been found in a vehicle with female clothing, Aberdeen’s Identification card and a bank card.

“Your worship, what can we concur from this? Was she going to a party?” Gregg questioned.

According to Gregg, the investigations into the matters are “long, tedious and very systematic.”

“These matters are very serious matters and if granted bail, knowing these matters are hanging over her head, she will not come to court…,” Gregg submitted.

He also said there may be over 200 more charges to be laid.

Defense lawyer for Aberdeen Stephen Williams told the court that the first four charges against the young woman did not amount to more than $600.

“This is a bailable offence. We are asking that, based on the four charges, that she be granted bail and there is no way she can hamper the investigations in this matter,” Williams submitted.

Williams said the police can impose stringent reporting conditions on his client and have her surrender all her travel documents.

The Magistrate agreed with Williams, stating that only treason and murder are not bailable.

Inspector Gregg told the court that if the Magistrate was going to grant bail, let it be cash bail.

However, before the Magistrate could come to a decision on the bail, the additional 50 charges were brought to the court.

The prosecutor maintained their grounds for objecting to bail on those offences. Williams, on the other hand, said since the number of charges had been increased, it should be reflected in the bail amount.

Magistrate Browne noted that he would put all the charges together and grant bail and set stringent bail conditions.

“…What is before the court is not a question of the defendant stealing $130, it is the question that the defendant has contravened the law by stealing,” Browne mentioned.

He said despite the fact that the prosecution is objecting to bail, the matter has been before the court for a week.

“…The court decided not to grant bail until the prosecution comes back; they wanted time to investigate. Well they got a week….I’ll grant bail to Miss Aberdeen and I’m not granting bail because of the amount that is shown in the papers; I am granting bail on the basis of the law,” Browne added.

After the additional charges were considered, Browne then increased the bail amount to $40,000 with two sureties.

In addition to the $40,000 bail, Aberdeen will have to surrender her travel documents and report to the Central Police Station on Mondays and Fridays. She was also ordered not to leave the state without the court’s permission.

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