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Vynnette Frederick pleads not guilty to perjury charges

Vynnette Frederick pleads not guilty to perjury charges


New Democratic Party (NDP) Senator and officer of the court Vynnette Frederick on Wednesday walked out of the Magistrate’s Court in Kingstown, after being granted $10,000 bail with one surety, for charges relating to three counts of perjury.{{more}}

Frederick, who was arrested earlier in the day, was greeted by party supporters, who encouraged her to “hold the faith” and “be strong”, as she was whisked away from the court by her brother, after a brief appearance before Senior Magistrate Donald Browne, who read the charges laid against her by the Commissioner of Police.

The first charge states that on January 10, 2011, at Kingstown, the senator made “a false declaration before Sonya Young, Chief Magistrate, a person authorized to take a declaration upon a matter of public concern, under circumstances, that a false declaration, if committed in a judicial proceeding would have amounted to perjury contrary to section 96 of the criminal code”.

The other two charges state that she made similar false declarations, before Fay James, on June 16, 2011 and May 23, 2012.

Frederick pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

As she entered the court, Frederick held up and showed her inkstained hands, presumably from the police fingerprinting process, and said to those present on the outside, “This is what they doing”.

She had been expected to appear before Browne hours before, and her legal counsel, family and supporters, feared that she would be kept overnight at the Central Police Station.

While in the court, a visibly upset but composed Frederick, dressed in a pink shirt, blue jeans and flip flops, was reassured by supporters, who included Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace and Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings.

Frederick was represented in court by counsel: her father Bayliss Frederick, Nicole Sylvester, Mira Commissiong, Samantha Robertson and Maia Eustace, with other lawyers who were not present in court, said to be on the defence team.

Prosecuting Sergeant Gideon Black did not object to bail for Frederick, but requested a surety, to which Commissiong asked that her client be released on her own recognizance.

Magistrate Browne said, however, while he had no doubt that the Member of Parliament was not a flight risk, he thought that it would be prudent and better for all concerned if a surety was in place.

The composite bail was signed by Frederick’s father, and the 2010 West St George elections candidate is expected to return to court on Friday, November 16.

The charges against the former NDP Public Relations Officer follow a judgement handed down by the OECS Court of Appeal on May 31, 2012, which indicated that Frederick intentionally gave evidence which was untrue, in a complaint she brought against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, following the 2010 general elections.

The complaints against Gonsalves were made under Section 51, Subsection 3 of the Representation of the People Act and related to comments Gonsalves was alleged to have made at a public meeting of the Unity Labour Party at Park Hill on August 29, 2010.

Frederick stated in an affidavit sworn on June 16, 2011, that the context in which Gonsalves used the word “tomboy” in relation to her, must be viewed against the backdrop of chants from other persons in attendance at the political meeting of the word “lesbian”. It was only after those chants, she deposed, that Gonsalves used the word “tomboy” in describing her.

Frederick swore in her declarations that she had listened to the tape and that when Dr Gonsalves made the comment, she heard persons in attendance saying “lesbian” and “she love woman”, among other things.

Frederick later swore in an affidavit of May 23, 2012 that the word “lesbian” was “inadvertently inserted” in her earlier affidavit. (JJ)