Prosecution’s witness receives eight days imprisonment for contempt of Court

By:St. Clair Sazam Hull

(CHARLESTOWN NEVIS)-The April criminal assizes at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme, Nevis Circuit, resumed its sitting on Monday, April 25, 2016 before Her Ladyship Justice Lorraine Williams.

The matter before the court was that of Lawton Forbes, a resident of Hamilton Estate who was charged for armed robbery. Forbes who has been alleged of robbing Xpetrol Gas Station on Friday, August 8 2014, first trial ended in a hung jury.

During the first trial, Ms. Keona Daniel who is the Prosecution’s key witness, testified under oath. At the time of the occurrence, she was employed as the cashier at the establishment.

However, when the matter came up in Court today, the witness was extremely reluctant and irresolute to give any evidence whatsoever. Ms. Daniel first showed her hesitancy when she refused to tell the court what her residence was.  As a result of her being disinclined, Prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Dane Hamilton QC was compelled to ask the witness what the problem was. He stated, “What is the problem? You gave evidence in the first trial so why you don’t want to say anything now?” The witness said she had nothing to say.

The lawyer told Her Ladyship, that he will have to treat the witness as a hostile witness. He thereafter proceeded and filed an application before the Court. The matter was halted for a few minutes as the judge returned in chambers to make her decision. Upon resumption, Her Ladyship asked Ms. Daniel if she was threatened by anyone and the witness said she did not receive any threats.

Her Ladyship then indicated to Ms. Daniel, that there can be consequences as a result of her not complying with the law. She continued, “If you fail to give evidence for no apparent reason you can be sent to prison and I don’t want to send you to prison”. Even in subsequence to the judge’s statement, the witness still showed hesitance to comply with what the Court had demanded of her.

Ms. Daniel was charged for contempt of court and was sentenced to eight (8) days imprisonment by Her Ladyship. She is set to be released on Monday, May 2, 2016 and is expected back in court on Tuesday, May 3 2016 for the continuation of the hearing.



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