Former model Yugge Farrell, 22, is now in the hands of the state and could spend years at the Mental Health Centre, a prominent lawyer has told iWitness News.
“I am very, very worried about it. When I look at section 7(4) of the law, Yugge is in the hands of this government. The position she is in, the medical report that was given, if she does not get some independent report, she can be kept legally now, at that hospital for six years, seven years, any amount of time until they decide that she is fit to plea,” Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who is an activist and opposition politician told iWitness News on Tuesday.
“And when we think of it, there are no qualified doctors in that respect, it alarms me,” Bacchus Baptiste said in the interview, which took place in the presence of Yugge’s mother, Gailene Farrell, who had gone to the lawyer to seek help.
“There are a number of issues that trouble me about this matter, which I have spoken [about] over and over again. But yesterday has made it much worse and that is why we are going to try to do what we can do to help her in terms of getting independent expert help,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
She was speaking to iWitness News one day after Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett sent Yugge Farrell back to the Mental health Centre for a third week – following two weeks of evaluation – while he considers legal arguments presented about a report that says she is unfit for trial.
Yugge was sent to the psychiatric hospital for two weeks after she pleaded not guilty, on Jan. 5, to a charge that one day earlier she used abusive language, to wit, “you dirty b***h” at Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, wife of Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves.
When she returned to court on Monday, the medical report said she was unfit for trial and Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams asked the court to order that she be sent back to the psychiatric hospital for further treatment.
However, Connell, who had strenuously opposed Farrell’s hospitalisation during her Jan. 5 arraignment, questioned the qualifications of the person who signed the report and asked that his client be granted bail while she is being assessed by a psychiatrist.
Bacchus-Baptiste said she has read the section in the law in question and it is her opinion that that medical report is outside the scope of what Yugge was sent to the Mental Health Centre for.
“She was sent for evaluation, not for drugs to be administered to her. Three different types of drugs were administered to her, which, since doing the research on it, anybody who takes those three drugs, it would severely affect them and they would most likely behave like how Yugge, I’m told, behaved yesterday. Those are three very, very powerful drugs.”
Connell also told the court on Monday that his client was given anti-psychotic drugs.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that the Mental Health Centre was supposed to report back to the court and then the court would decide whether she needed to go back to the health care facility for treatment.
“But to treat her before, as Yugge’s mom said very clearly, the drug seems to have altered her disposition. She was a different person after she took them.”
Gailene spoke to iWitness News at Bacchus-Baptiste’s officer two weeks after an earlier interview scheduled to take place at her home did not materialise because of an unrelated mishap.
The mother told iWitness News that she has known Bacchus-Baptiste for years and reached out to her after her daughter’s arrest.
Lawyer Grant Connell, who has been acting on Yugge’s behalf when she approached him in court on the day of her arraignment, is still representing her without pay in the matter.
Gailene told iWitness News that she approached Bacchus-Baptiste because she has known the lawyer for a long time.
“I the one decide to come and see her because it really painful. It [is] really painful”.
Gailene said she has asked Bacchus-Baptiste to support her with her daughter’s “health and these kind of thing”.
Bacchus-Baptiste, speaking during the same interview at her chambers in Kingstown, told iWitness News that it was about the third or fourth time that the woman had come to see her since Yugge’s arrest.
“She came and she asked for help. It’s not like a legal situation where I am being paid. She came in tears to my office, she poured out her heart to me, she said how disappointed she was,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
She said the mother had told her of the relationship that Yugge and Camillo reportedly had.
“… she was very upset that they are denying her. I think that is what hurt her more than anything else. Very upset.”
Bacchus-Baptiste told iWitness News that on Monday, Gailene had asked for her help in terms of getting professional assistance for Yugge.
“And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not involved in the case legally as such — the case that is before the case. But what I am trying to do is get her some professional help for her daughter.”