The parents of former model Yugge Farrell were, on Wednesday, discharged on attempted murder and arson charges.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias made the decision after being informed by the prosecution that police officers are unable to locate the DVDs on which the electronic interviews with the accused were burnt.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that that was the information that had just been relayed to him by one of the court orderlies.
“Ok. I am discharging these matters,” the chief magistrate responded.
Gailene Farrell and her common-law husband, Calvert Charles, have been waiting since last year for the commencement of a preliminary inquiry.
They are charged with the Nov. 1, 2017 attempted murder of fellow Lowmans Bay resident, Edward Durrant.
The couple is also charged with arson in connection with a fire at the man’s home on the same day.
The Crown alleged that the couple lit the man’s house on fire and chopped him as he attempted to escape.
The matter had been adjourned several times and the court was upon the timeline set out by higher courts by which such hearings should commence.
In May, Farrell told iWitness News that she was “frustrated” by the court system.
“I am frustrated by it and why I know I am frustrated is because ah know ah innocent,” Gailene told iWitness News outside the Serious Offences Court on May 30, after another adjournment in the matter.
During that hearing, June 11 was set as the date for a paper committal.
A paper committal is a proceeding in which the magistrate reads the witnesses’ written statements and decides on that reading whether there is enough evidence to send the case to trial before a judge and jury at the high court.
Paper committals are less time consuming than preliminary inquiries, in which each witness comes and testifies verbally.
In keeping with the indictable nature of the charge, Farrell and Charles were not allowed to plead.
Gailene denied that she or Charles were guilty of the crimes for which they have been accused.
“A 53-year-old woman like me? This man (virtual complainant) is a man is me brethren [who] does dey close to me. The only thing me and this man never do is have sex and kiss and hug up…
“The man is me brethren,” she said, adding that they are falsely accused.
She was also not impressed with the work of the investigator, Detective Corporal Philbert Chambers.
“I want them get to the matter. Me does watch CSI Miami and me does watch the Closer and me does watch the Mentalist. Corporal Chambers need to watch them picture dey,” Farrell said.
On one occasion, in February, Delplesche had asked for an adjournment, telling the court that he was yet to receive the file from the investigator.
Wednesday’s development that resulted in the accused couple being discharged is not only an embarrassment for the police, but could put the government in an uncomfortable position, politically.
Yugge Farrell is said to have demanded in a “blackmail” letter she reportedly delivered to Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves on Jan. 5, that the charges against her parents be dropped.
Yugge, 22, who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition and who is said to have had mental health issues before she allegedly delivered the letter, has claimed that the finance minister was in an extra-marital relationship with her.
Yugge Farrell came to national attention on Jan. 5 when she appeared in court to answer a charge that the previous day she used abusive language to Duncan-Gonsalves.
She went on to spend three weeks in a psychiatric hospital after the court granted an application by the prosecution, given in the absence of any supporting evidence that she warranted being sent for psychiatric evaluation.
The model has since claimed that the finance minister cheated on his wife with her during a years-long relationship that ended in 2016.
She has been granted EC$1,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 17, 2018.