Prison authorities change medication for CarolAnn Munroe, woman given sleeping pills
– Prosecutor reduced to a “messenger boy”- Nigel Hughes
“They have changed her medication without having her medical history, without carrying out an examination and the new medication is a very potent sleeping pill, which keeps her in semi-comatose state while she is in solitary confinement.”
This disclosure was made by defence lawyer Nigel Hughes, on behalf of Carol Ann Munroe yesterday when she made her third court appearance before Magistrate Priya Beharry.
Hughes said that Carol-Ann Munroe’s treatment in prison was “inhumane”. According to the lawyer who diligently addressed the court on this aspect, Munroe’s medication has been changed.
She is currently being given potent sleeping pills. According to lawyers, Carol-Ann Munroe, is schizophrenic — a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of the process of thinking and of emotional responsiveness.
Hughes explained that his client’s history was not given, nor was she examined but yet she is being given the pills.
He said that a majority of the time while she is in solitary confinement, Munroe is asleep, which can be detrimental.
At this point the prosecutor said that Munroe was examined and the report is forthcoming. The prosecutor however could not say when the report would be ready.
Hughes asked for an early date so that the court could report on the client’s medical condition.
Magistrate Priya Beharry before adjourning the matter said that she was very disappointed in the prosecutor Karimbaksh.
Carol-Ann Munroe, her husband Major Bruce Munroe of the Guyana Defence Force, and reserve officer Leonard Wharton were charged last December with plotting to depose the President and Government of Guyana. They allegedly plotted between December 1, 2009 and December 16, 2010.
As yesterday’s proceedings commenced Magistrate Beharry recapped the applications Hughes made on the last occasion, and questioned Prosecutor Fazil Karimbaksh about the updates in the matter.
The trio is represented by Attorneys at law Nigel Hughes, Gregory Gaskin, Trenton Lake and George Thomas.
In response, the prosecutor said that he was instructed to ask for a further month before the state could start the preliminary inquiry.
A number of relatives who were present in court all gasped at the prosecutor’s disclosure. Carol- Ann Munroe’s mother Jennifer James was heard mumbling in the court was asked to leave.
Attorney at law Nigel Hughes interjected and stated that it was utter disrespect for the prosecution to abuse the court’s time.
The lawyer opined that if the matter is adjourned for a month, on the next occasion the prosecution still wouldn’t produce a special prosecutor to handle the matter.
On the first appearance when the charges were laid the prosecution stated that a special prosecutor would have been handling the matter.
“I’m alarmed and disturbed that the prosecutor is not in a position to identify the special prosecutor, or even give a definite answer about the commencement of the preliminary inquiry”.
In relation to the application to have the “evidence” made available to the defence, Hughes aid that the prosecutor again cannot give the court an answer on that.
The defence, on the last occasion, had requested the audio and video recordings, which according to them, would help build their defence.
The police are contending that they have video and audio recordings of the defendants to substantiate the charge of treason.
He opined that delaying the delivery of the tapes was merely a tactic to “frustrate” the defendants.
Further, Hughes said that the prosecutor was merely “bringing messages to the court” and this can be frustrating to any case.
“They’ve reduced the prosecutor to a messenger boy….which is a total insult to the court,” Hughes opined.
Some speculated that the charges were linked to the fire that destroyed the Ministry of Health building on Brickdam. The lawyers had noted that the dates of the charge could not stand up to such speculation, since the Ministry of Health fire happened several months before.
The defence lawyers opined that the prosecutor has an uphill task to prove his case, and they (clients) are very hopeful and confident that what they know the police have against them does not amount to a conviction.
Treason is a capital offence that is not bailable. The last persons to be slapped with treason charges were Mark Benschop and Philip Bynoe. Benschop has since been released from prison where he spent five years while Bynoe was never brought to court although charged. The charging of the trio with treason now totals up to five persons who have been charged and prosecuted by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-led administration since 1992.
Carol-Ann Munroe is also the first woman, of the lot, to have been charged with treason.
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