Was it the judiciary, or the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government that decided to bring nine charges against Sen. Vynnette Frederick last Thursday?
That’s the question that might be in some persons’ minds after hearing comments by Government senator, Julian Francis, on his weekly radio programme Tuesday night.
Frederick was arrested and slapped with nine charges on Thursday, hours after a magistrate dismissed six similar charges against her.
The move by the police to arrest Frederick during lunch with her lawyers and political colleagues, have prompted questions about the intention of the police.
A local newspaper, widely regarded as supportive of the ULP government, in its editorial on Tuesday, said it seemed that the intention was to humiliate Frederick and makes one wonder whether she was being prosecuted or persecuted.
But Francis’ comments may have offered some insight into what informed the decision to charge, or may have inadvertently cast unwarranted aspersion on the nation’s prosecutors.
“Now, the NDP s saying that this thing is not proper,” Francis said of the arrest of his Opposition parliamentary colleague.
“… let’s assume for one minute that the NDP is in government and there is some charges brought against Senator Julian Francis in Parliament where I was charged for perjury and my defence lawyers got the magistrate to throw out the charges, you mean the NDP government was going to sit down and accept that as the final verdict and not pursue?” Francis said.
“They would not have been convinced that the charges against me were genuine it is just that they made some errors in the formulation of the charges and that they can have the formulation corrected within a short space of time?
“… NDP was just going to walk away from it? Is that the impression you are giving to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines that you were just going to walk away from it and leave Julian Francis to enjoy his celebration party and not have to report back to the court to answer the real charges, properly formulated?” Francis further said in relation to Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace.
Francis cited the case last month when Dwaine Sandy was arrested as part of investigations into the robbery of a postal worker and shooting of a police officer in Kingstown.
Francis noted that Sandy was released and arrested again some hours later.
“There is nothing mystic about it,” he said.
“So what they want, let the charges get dismissed, Vynnette walk away because there was some bad formulation and there is an allowance in the law that you can amend the charges and have the person rearrested and charged again and brought back to court? It is all proper by law. There is nothing improper about it,” the senator further said.