– Crime Chief urges victims in abusive relationships to inform police
Dhanwantie Ram, a 29-year-old mother in Parika, East Bank Essequibo (EBE), told her neighbours that her husband had beat her and that she feared for her life.
She got a temporary restraining order to keep her husband of 12 years, Ganesh Dhanraj away from her, to keep herself and her children safe.
But last Wednesday as she was heading to the Parika Police Station, her husband allegedly dragged her into the couple’s Parika Façade, East Bank Essequibo home. He allegedly strangled her with a bed-sheet before fleeing.
Some neighbours would later contend that the restraining order was just a piece of paper that aggravated Dhanraj. Even with the restraining order, the 30-year-old labourer who was described as abusive would visit the woman at her sister’s home and attack her.
Like Dhanwantie Ram, there are other cases in which restraining orders failed to help those it was intended to protect.
On October 18, 2015, Marc Angoy violated a restraining order his estranged partner, Shelly Norton had taken out against him and is alleged to have fatally shot the woman’s one-year-old granddaughter, Arian Gill and injured his daughter, 14-year-old Ashley Wellington.
Prior to the shooting, Angoy had reportedly made several attempts to harm the woman and when he did not succeed, he is said to have threatened to hurt the “closest thing to her.” He was remanded to prison after turning himself in to the police with a lawyer.
On December 18, 2014, Jerome Franklin allegedly went berserk after he found out that his wife, Geeta Boodhoo had taken out a restraining order, preventing him from going to his Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo home.
Franklin, it is alleged, sneaked into the house that night and slaughtered his partner’s drinking buddy, Floyd Drakes; the woman’s mother, Bibi Zalima Khan and his step daughter, nine-year-old Ashley Boodhoo.
Franklyn then chopped off Geeta Boodhoo’s left hand but she managed to escape.
The following day, in a telephone conversation with this newspaper, Drakes revealed that he and his partner were having domestic problems but things escalated when the court granted his wife a restraining order after she claimed that he had threatened her life.
Drakes has since been arrested and charged for the murder.
On December 24, 2016, Shamar Mohamed brutally chopped his 23-year-old girlfriend, Bhartie Udho and her mother Amika.
According to information received, the suspect kidnapped the young woman on four occasions prior to the chopping incident. Reports are that Udho was abducted twice in 2012, once in 2013 and then in 2015.
The young woman’s family had secured a restraining order from the courts against the suspect to keep him a certain distance away from the 23-year-old whom he shared a relationship with some five years ago.
On the night the suspect went berserk, the restraining order was active.
On November 30, 2015, Nesha Samuels, a school teacher was forced to run from police station to police station, pleading for assistance after her ex-partner, a soldier, allegedly violated a restraining order and showed up at her home threatening to kill her.
The threats became so severe that the school teacher had to go into hiding because the suspect would show up at her place of employment.
While many believe that these restraining orders do not work, police sources, however, say that these orders can work. The sources admitted, however, that there are a few instances in which there were breaches and as such, persons have been brought before the court and charged.
In response to queries, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum urged women who are in abusive relationships to report the offender “to the nearest Police Station.”
“Once this report is made, the GPF’s Domestic Violence Standard Operating Procedure is activated, and the perpetrators are immediately apprehended. They are then promptly placed before the Court. There are some instances when the victims would refuse to follow up with investigations for varying reasons. However, ranks investigating domestic violence matters and who are attached to the various Gender-Based Violence Units are trained to deal with the social realities of these cases especially situations where the women depend financially on their partners to provide for them and quickly return to the Police Stations to have them released,” the Crime Chef added.
“Our trained officers take time to explain to these women the importance of allowing the matter to proceed in the court so that the Magistrate can address their matters in accordance with the law. Further, these women are also advised that the law makes provisions for domestic violence applications and so they can apply to the Court for a protection order, a restraining order and/or an occupation order. They are even offered assistance in preparing the relevant forms to be filed in the court.
“Once a protection order, restraining order and/or occupation order is granted by the court, women are then advised to serve a copy of the order granted by the court, to the respective police station nearest to their homes, so as to give the police notice of the restraining, protection or occupation order. This also facilitates the police ranks at the nearest police station in being able to provide quick and rapid response against their partners who breach the orders.
“Immediately upon receipt of a call that their partners are at their home, the police having been already aware of the orders, will take immediate steps to have these individuals prosecuted once again, but this time for breach of the court’s order. And once the court is satisfied that the individual has breached its order, the individual will be subject to a term of imprisonment.”
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