Lawyer seeks bail for jailed mom of 3
Wednesday, October 23 2013
AN APPLICATION has been filed in the San Fernando High Court for a judge to consider granting bail to mother of three Michelle Cudjoe, who has appealed the sentence of seven months imprisonment for stealing a woman’s handbag.
The application for bail was filed in the High Court after Cudjoe’s attorney sought same before Deputy Chief Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Hayes, but failed. It was this same magistrate who two Mondays ago, sentenced Cudjoe, 24, of Ste Madeleine to seven months imprisonment.
The magistrate opted for a jail sentence, Cudjoe’s attorneys have argued, instead of other lesser punishments including a fine, bond or community service. This despite the fact that this was Cudjoe’s first conviction and she immediately pleaded guilty.
Attorney Lisa Singh-Phillip of the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority (LAAA) has filed an application to petition Justice Geoffrey Henderson in the San Fernando High Court for bail. The application would be heard tomorrow.
Cudjoe began serving the seven-month jail term last week Monday after Ramoo-Hayes imposed the prison term on the mother of three children, ages six, four and one-year-old. She had pleaded guilty to the charge of robbery last week that upon boarding a taxi on Coffee Street, San Fernando, she snatched the woman’s purse who was seated next to her. A 17-year-old girl was also charged along with Cudjoe but she has pleaded not guilty and that case has been adjourned.
Cudjoe will complete serving her sentence next April, if she is not granted bail so as to challenge the sentence.
On Monday, Singh-Phillip went before Ramoo-Hayes in the First Police Court where she is presiding while Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington is on leave, and informed her about the application to grant bail pending the hearing and completion of Cudjoe’s appeal before the Court of Appeal. Ramoo-Hayes did not hear the application and simply rose, saying, “I know what I have to do.”
On Monday, the very day she was sentenced, Cudjoe fell ill while in jail and had to be rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope. She was administered an injection and placed on a ward for observation. Hours later, the woman was sent back to the prison to continue serving her term.
Singh-Phillip confirmed to Newsday yesterday that as the LAAA’s attorney acting for Cudjoe, the bail application has been filed in the High Court on the ground that Cudjoe has been refused bail by Ramoo-Hayes. Meanwhile, Cudjoe’s children have been staying with an aunt who is caring for them while their mother continues to serve her jail term.