Citing public safety, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, yesterday remanded a 25-year-old student of the University of Guyana (UG) to prison, after it was alleged that she mad
e several bomb threat to the tertiary education institution.
The woman, Sheneza Dianne Jaffarally, 25, a sales consultant at Yellow Guyana, and of Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Jaffarally was charged under the telecommunication Act. She pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that on February 5, last, at Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara, she sent by means of a public telecommunication system, for the purpose of causing needless anxiety to the staff and students of the University of Guyana, a message which she knows to be false.
She was represented by Attorney-at-Law Latchmie Rahamat who in an application to secure bail told the court that the young woman has an unblemished record.
The lawyer stated that her client vehemently denied the allegation when it was put to her by the police. The lawyer said that police are alleging that her client called the university via phone and made bomb threats.
The lawyer added that a document was shown to her client while she was in custody. That document, Rahamat said, appeared to be a print out of phone records for a cell phone similar to that of her client’s.
However, the lawyer said that the document was unsigned, unstamped and had no letterhead and appeared to be something generated from a computer.
Other than that, the lawyer said there is absolutely no evidence to show that her client ever made any calls, or threats to the university.
She added that from the time of her client’s arrest, she has fully cooperated with the investigations. She added that the police even went to her Cummings Lodge home and removed all her electronic documents.
The lawyer went on to tell the court that if bail is granted to her client she will adhere to any conditions. The lawyer further argued that her client was kept in custody beyond 72 hours, even though the Crime Chief, in a public statement said that he would not breach her constitutional rights.
However, Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield objected to bail being granted to the defendant firstly on the ground of the serious nature of the
allegation. Secondly, he noted that the allegation has the potential to spread public terror and that there is another investigation ongoing in relation to a similar allegation against the said university.
The prosecutor added that if bail is granted to the defendant, there is a likelihood that she would tamper with the witnesses and the investigation.
The Magistrate after listening to both sides remanded the woman to prison on the ground of public safety.
She was instructed to make her next court appearance on February 18 when she will appear in the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Courts.
The woman’s family had released a statement, which reads “… we wish to categorically deny the allegation levelled against her and will strive to undertake every possible means to ensure that her name is cleared of these claims”.
Her family believes that she is being used as a scapegoat, and that the leaking of her name is indicative of an ulterior motive.
The incident, which caused UG to shut down for a short time, also resulted in the institution ramping up security.
The threat followed others made against the School of the Nations, Queen’s College and The Bishops’ High School.
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