The court has granted a final adjournment for the commencement of a preliminary inquiry into the death of the Biabou woman whose lover allegedly set her ablaze as she slept last August.
If the prosecution is not ready to proceed on May 5, Pedro Ashton, a 33-year-old labourer of Biabou, could be discharged on the charge that he murdered Monique Clarke.
Clarke, a 44-year-old domestic, died Aug. 22, 2017 at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown where she had been warded after she was allegedly set afire at her home on Aug. 13, 2017.
When the matter was called on March 28, 2017, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that the Crown was not ready to proceed because it was yet to receive the file.
However, Chief Magistrate Browne-Matthias noted that the crime was allegedly committed last August and told the prosecution that they were around the timeline by which such matters should be disposed of.
Defence Counsel Michael Wyllie told the court that it seems to him that the assumption is that the police and the prosecution have a right to just hold people in prison indefinitely.
He said he spent a long time in the field of human rights “and so when I see these kinds of abuses, I tend to get somewhat emotive. And so I will indulge the prosecution to try and find out — the file is not even with the prosecution.”
“Or anywhere close to,” the chief magistrate interjected.
She said that the crime is a serious one, as the prosecution had indicated, but it is either that the prosecution “has something or you don’t” and said that she would list the matter as a final adjournment.
The chief magistrate set the next court date as May 5, saying that “is more than enough time”.
“More than enough, your honour,” Delplesche said.
“So I don’t want to be hearing no funny stories on that day,” the chief magistrate said.
It is alleged that Ashton set Clarke ablaze, reportedly after she refused to have sex or give money to him.
She had suffered second- and third-degree burns to 85 per cent of her body — from her head to her lower extremities.