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Woman in video seen beating man could face criminal charges

Woman in video seen beating  man could face criminal charges

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Judy Richardson, the woman shown in a local video beating an older man, could face a criminal charge, although the man assaulted in the video, Felix ‘Crab’ Thomas, has refused to report the matter to the police.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that video evidence has always been admissible in court and it is now even more so, as the regime of admission {{more}}of evidence has been strengthened by the State.

The DPP said that at no time has video evidence not been admissible in court. He stressed also that once there is evidence, the prosecution does not need a person to make a complaint for a charge to be laid.

“…That is not the law now; it was not the law in the past and I don’t expect it to be the law in the future that you need to have a victim to testify or to make a complaint. The only time that the issue of a virtual complainant’s testimony becomes significant is in the matter of a sexual offence, if the issue of consent arises,” said Williams.

He said that to better understand the issue, one can look at the offence of murder. “…The victim is dead, the virtual complainant is dead and people go to the gallows for that; so what do you need a victim to testify for?”

The experienced DPP stressed that once evidence is available to establish that an offence was committed, a person can be tried in a court of law.

He added also that the local office of the DPP is the only organization in this jurisdiction that has published a social media identification guide/media protocol guide and this was done because locally, the admission of video evidence has progressed.

Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) Superintendent Ruth Jacobs has a different view, however. She said yesterday that Thomas has declined to make a complaint to the police and as a result, Richardson has not been charged with an offence.

She said that when the police saw the video, two police officers were sent to Thomas’ home in Calder and he told them that he was not interested in pressing charges against Richardson.

“…So, without him making a report, there isn’t any arrest we can do. We cannot make an arrest,” said Superintendent Jacobs, who observed that although video evidence exists, the police still need the person to make a report.

“The video evidence cannot be used in court like that. We still need the person to make the report. We enquired about it, but without the report there is nothing we can do,” said the CID boss, who stressed that she was not sure what the DPP’s views in terms of the video was, “but from my standpoint, he would have to make the report.”

She said that once a report is made in this matter, the fact that it is a woman beating a man has nothing to do with the matter being investigated.

“When a woman makes a report, we have to investigate; so when a man makes a report, we have to investigate too,” said Superintendent Jacobs.

Last week, Thomas told SEARCHLIGHT that he does not want to press charges against his attacker.

“…I don’t want no case and nobody come in me place, no policeman…everything done settle long time. I don’t want no police to come in my house because me and she done settle already and that is all,” Thomas said.

The one-minute 58-second video was recorded on Saturday, March 26 in Calder and when posted online last Thursday, went viral. Up to press time yesterday, 1.7 million people had viewed the video on Searchlight’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Searchlight1). (LC)

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