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Teacher’s attorneys to discuss way forward

Teacher’s attorneys to  discuss way forward

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The team of lawyers for teacher Jozette Bibby-Bowens will meet this week to discuss the way forward, following the discontinuation of charges which had been brought against her.

Kay Bacchus-Browne, one of Bibby-Bowens’ counsel, told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the meeting will discuss, among other things, the reinstatement of the teacher.{{more}}

After Bibby-Bowens was charged ,on March 2, 2015, with two counts of obscene publication. She was suspended, effective March 5, on half salary, from her job as a graduate teacher of accounting and information technology at the Bishop’s College.

“I spoke with her today (Monday) and she has not yet been reinstated. So, we have to look at that, the false arrest charge, the embarrassment that she faced and the resulting legal fees she had to incur unnecessarily,” Bacchus-Browne said.

Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams discontinued the matter against Bibby-Bowens on April 16, one day before she was set to reappear in court. He told SEARCHLIGHT that there were ways to deal with the Bibby-Bowens matter other than through the criminal process.

Bibby-Bowens, a 37-year-old Belmont resident, was arrested and charged for posts she allegedly made on Facebook, on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

She had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to Bacchus-Browne, the charges that were levelled against her client were meant to embarrass her and it was an attack on her because she is a woman.

“Because she is a woman, they think it is just easy to take a woman and drag her through the court. I think that is what it is,” Bacchus-Browne said, adding that the matter was also a political one.

“It appears that way. She is alleged to have said certain things, which if she did say them, might have hurt the Prime Minister and so they were using the legal machinery to embarrass my client. That is how it appears to me and to many other persons. The law should not be used in that way,” Bacchus-Browne said, calling the move “reprehensible.”

Besides being suspended on half salary, Bibby-Bowens was restricted from leaving the state without the permission of the Public Service Commission.

She was set to reappear at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on April 17, after the court ordered the prosecution to make full disclosure to the defence by March 31.

This was never done.

“Disclosure was never done because they did not have anything to disclose. I thought the letter written by the police was very curious. After you had arrested and charged my client and I write you for disclosure and you say to me that you would disclose to me as soon as the evidence becomes available, so then on what evidence did you charge her?” she questioned.

The letter Bacchus-Browne referred to was one that she had written to Commissioner of Police Michael Charles on March 4, requesting full disclosure.

Charles, on March 6, responded to that letter, stating that all information relevant to the case will be presented to her once it became available.

“All of us are of the same opinion. From the beginning there was not sufficient evidence to charge our client. In fact, there was no evidence to charge out client,” she said.

While commending the DPP for withdrawing the matter, Bacchus-Browne said she could not fathom how the prosecution was going to prove its case.

She also voiced her strong objection to the law being used to “embarrass” someone.

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.

Attorneys Nicole Sylvester and Dr Linton Lewis also represent Bibby-Bowens.(KW)

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