Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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JENSEN LA VENDE
An Arouca bar owner, who is
accused of assaulting a woman by
kicking her in the head repeatedly and
striking her with a metal object, was
carted off to jail last night hours after
appearing in court on three criminal
Ricardo Jerome, 36, of First Avenue,
Oropune Gardens, Piarco, who has also
been employed as a labourer at the Cus-
toms and Excise Division for the last
seven years, was unable to have his bail
processed as he appeared in court shortly
after 4 pm.
With today being the public holiday
of Divali it is unlikely his bail can be
processed in prison, sources said.
On his way to court, Jerome was
taunted and threatened by women, one
even lunging and pulling at him as police
officers escorted him into the courtroom.
Jerome stood before magistrate Deb-
bie-Ann Bassaw, charged with unlaw-
fully beating the mother of his child,
with his hands clasped in front of him
and his head bowed. A half-eaten pack
of biscuits protruded from his front left
Jerome surrendered to police last Fri-
day after a video began circulating on
Facebook, showing a vicious assault of
a woman, identified in court yesterday
as Ornella Marchan, at Nella s Sports
Bar, Arima Old Road.
The alleged incident took place on
He pleaded not guilty to the offence
as well as being in possession of a
weapon, which police said was used in
the alleged attack, and disorderly con-
Jerome was brought to court just after
4 pm through the public entrance of
the courtroom. Those who had gathered
to see him left as the rains began to fall.
Inside the courtroom his mother sat
along with the media listening to the
presentation of his case.
The magistrate was informed that
Jerome had two previous charges of
assault and charges of possession of
ammunition and a firearm. That matter,
he claimed, had been dealt with but
without his criminal record or a court
extract, his claim could not be verified.
Jerome was granted $60,000 bail to
be approved by a Clerk of the Peace.
He was told if his criminal record proved
to be untrue his bail would be altered
and increased. If it turned out to be
accurate, then he may get a reduction
in his bail.
Through his attorney, Fareed Ali, the
prisoner agreed to return to court on
Friday when his criminal record would
be made available.
As a condition of his bail, Jerome was
ordered to stay away from Marchan,
who the court learnt had been living at
the home of Jerome s mother.
Ali assured that his client had every
intention of staying away from the 35-
year-old woman and would comply
with the court s order.
Since his court appearance took place
beyond the normal working hours of
the court, Jerome was unable to access
his bail and was remanded to the Golden
Grove Prison. His attorney said he
intended to write to the Commissioner
of Prisons Sterling Stewart requesting
his client to be kept away from the gen-
eral prison population so that he would
not be harmed.
Hours before his court appearance,
a group of men and women sat outside
the Arima Magistrates Court waiting
to catch a glimpse, some of whom
described him as "a real cool man."
Some of women, while taking sips
of alcohol, criticised Marchan for giving
a statement to police, while some men
said there were two sides to a story and
all had not been told.
One women recalled her horrors at
being a victim of domestic abuse and
how she worked up the courage to leave
Another said she would never be in
such a relationship and if any man dare
touch her she would "bathe him with
hot oil after some good loving and he
The law needs to change to allow
police to arrest abusers, even with-
out a complaint from the victim,
once there is sufficient evidence.
This is the view of the head of the
Victims and Witness Support Unit
of the Police Service Margaret Samp-
son-Browne, the International
Women s Resource Network (IWRN)
and women s rights activist Tara
The change is being called for after
a video surfaced online last week
showing a woman being beaten with
a steel object and being kicked in her
head and stomach by a man, who it
turns out she s in a relationship with.
However, the woman, after walking
into the Arouca Police Station with
her alleged abuser, refused to co-
operate further with police after giving
an initial statement.
In an interview last week, Samp-
son-Browne said there was a need
for the Domestic Violence Act to be
amended to empower officers to lay
criminal charges when there was clear
material evidence even if the virtual
complainant was unwilling to allow
police to bring charges against the
She said as things stood, the police
could not make much progress unless
a victim filed charges against his or
She said if the offence was com-
mitted in the view of an officer, that
officer could make an arrest but, she
added, if the victim refused to support
the police in the prosecution, then
the police would have some challenges
in taking a matter to the court.
Another voice calling for change
was Ramoutar, head of the Caribbean
Association for Feminist Research
and Action (CAFRA).
In a telephone interview yester-
day, Ramoutar said she felt Parliament
should look at ways to change the
law to offer women more protection.
She said, however, she understood
the position of police officers.
"How can you charge someone if
the person who was hurt refuses to
lay a charge against them? You can t
force someone to do what they don t
want to do," Ramoutar said.
Referring to the video, shared thou-
sands of times on social media,
Ramoutar said it was the woman s
right to bring charges against her
"It is sad but it clearly shows that
some women do not want to come
out of these situations. The law needs
to be changed so that people will
know you cannot treat human beings
that way," she added.
She said she sympathised with the
young woman but added that abuse
was not something you should take
and be comfortable and content with.
"I thought we had moved away
from treating people as property
about 100 years ago," she said.
One woman, who contacted the
T&T Guardian to share her story, said
it was important for victims to keep
that right and responsibility to
empower themselves by speaking out.
She recalled: "I was abused by my
husband for more than ten years and
it was after I left him that he came
back and beat me and stabbed me.
"I could have died. I didn t. I called
the police. I think it is important for
the survivor to have that choice."
The International Women s
Resource Network (IWRN) also called
on Government to rethink urgently
its position on gender-based violence
and collaborate with stakeholders to
develop mechanisms to address the
problem from both the perpetrators
and victims perspective.
"Such mechanisms will minimise
condemnation of both perpetrator
and victim, which has been the norm
for years, and instead give the issue
the attention that it deserves," it said.
The group said expressions of anger
were sometimes signs of issues which
have negatively impacted individuals
in the past. Such individuals needed
assistance through counselling sup-
port, the group said.
Calls for tougher laws to assist cops in cases
Man on assault charge,
taunted on way to court
An unidentified woman heckles Ricardo Jerome outside the Arima
Magistrates' Court yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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