Judge wants stop orders for defendants
A senior parish judge on Tuesday stressed the need for stop orders to become a standard practice for defendants, when it was revealed that a woman with a matter before the courts had left the island.
Senior Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague was commenting on a matter involving Mishka Hill, Kimberly Foster and Jessica Armstrong. Foster and Armstrong are both charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, while Hill is charged with unlawful wounding.
When the case was mentioned in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, it was reported that Armstrong was not present at the last court date on October 5 and is now overseas.
"So, you see when court says surrender travel documents, nobody must say courts are unreasonable. How many dates now that this defendant has not come to court? Now courts must really look at how we treat the defendants. I am now thinking that it should become more [of a] standard practice to have stop orders," said Cole-Montague.
Prior to yesterday's court date, the parties were referred to mediation, where it was agreed that Hill was to compensate Foster. Hill paid $20,000 to her in court yesterday.
A concerned Cole-Montague asked when Armstrong would return but was told by her attorney, Althea Freeman, that she did not know. Freeman also asked that the warrant that was ordered on the last court date not be executed.
"This is disrespecting the court. I say it already, when people behave in this way, it makes it harder for other defendants. Who would've thought? This is a case of assault. You expect people to take away themselves from fraud cases, not assault. People must behave honourably. How can you have a matter in court and you just take away yourself? Things can happen [but] you don't communicate with your lawyer; you don't say nothing at all? That is contempt, that is the highest form of disrespect to just take away yourself," the judge expressed.
Additionally, Freeman's mother, Hill could not provide a date when her daughter would return or what was the reason for her travel. The judge then ordered the accused to surrender their travel documents and a stop order was imposed. Hill is not to have no contact or communication with Foster and was ordered to report to the police three times a week. The warrant that was previously ordered for Armstrong on October 5, is to be executed.