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Case against teacher adjourned to April 17

Case against teacher adjourned to April 17


Jozette Bibby-Bowens, the teacher who is charged with two counts of obscene publication, has to wait until April 17 to have her case heard.{{more}}

The matter was adjourned to that date, following the granting of an adjournment sought by the prosecution on Tuesday, March 17 – the date when the matter was set to commence, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.

Acting magistrate Carla James also ordered the prosecution make full disclosure to the defence by March 31.

Attorney Nicole Sylvester, one of three lawyers representing Bibby-Bowens, had objected to the prosecution’s request for an adjournment.

“One month without any reason given, we certainly object to that. It seems as if this a matter of cause for the prosecution that they can come to court, ask for one month adjournment and expect it to be rubber stamped without one iota of an explanation why they require an adjournment,” Sylvester argued.

The attorney indicated that they were ready to proceed and wanted a time-frame when there would be full disclosure of all the documents to the defence.

Sylvester further argued that disclosure should be made at least two weeks prior to the adjourned date, so as to allow them sufficient time to prepare their case.

Sylvester also pointed out that her client has been suspended on half pay and has financial obligations to meet.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Elgin Richards informed the court that technical persons are still carrying out investigations into the matter.

“They have asked for a certain length of time. We can appreciate that this matter may look simple, but it is something that we need to do everything in order to prove our case,” he said.

Richards said a month is not too much time to request for an adjournment, suggesting that Bibby-Bowens is not the first person to have been suspended with half pay.

“We are ministers of justice, your honour and we want to ensure that justice is done,” Richards stated.

Richards assured counsel that full disclosure will be made.

Bibby-Bowens, a graduate teacher at the Bishop’s College Kingstown, was on Monday, March 2, arrested and charged with two counts of obscene publication for posts she allegedly made on Facebook, on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bibby-Bowens was charged under Section 284 (1) (a), chapter 171 of the Revised Edition of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines 2009.

The section states: “For the purpose of, or by way of, trade, or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any obscene writing, drawing, print, painting, printed matter, photographs, pictures, poster, emblems, photos, films, discs or any other obscene objects tending to corrupt morals.”

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of nine months in prison.

On Thursday, March 5, Bibby-Bowens was instructed by chief personnel officer Corrine Gonsalves that she was interdicted from her duties on half salary, with immediate effect.

She is also restricted from leaving the state without permission of the Public Service Commission.

Kay Bacchus-Browne and Linton Lewis are Bibby-Bowens’ other counsel.(KW)