Former model Yugge Farrell is scheduled to return to court today, Dec. 17, in connection with the charge that she used insulting language at the wife of Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, almost one year ago.
Farrell was, in late January, granted EC$1,000 bail on the charge that she called Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, “a dirty b***h”.
Her court date comes amidst rumours that the Crown will withdraw the charge, which had set off a string of events, including one month of court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of the Lowmans Bay resident.
iWitness News has been unsuccessful in its attempts to contact Grant Connell, a member of her legal team, who has been representing her pro bono since her arraignment.
Farrell, who has been a top performer in a regional modelling competition, came to the attention of the nation again on Jan. 5, 2017, when she was brought before Magistrate Bertie Pompey at the Kingstown Magistrate’s court to answer the insulting language charge.
After Farrell pleaded not guilty to the charge, the prosecutor, Constable Corlene Samuel made an application that she be sent for psychiatric evaluation.
Samuel offered no information in support of her application, which was granted amidst strong objections by Grant Connell, who even asked the court to allow her to change her plea.
Barbadian Queen’s Counsel, Andrew Pilgrim, also acting pro bono on the matter, took over from Connell as lead counsel in the matter on the date that she was granted bail.
On Jan. 29, Rickie Burnett, who, in an unrelated development, took over became the Kingstown Magistrate, granted Farrell bail, after receiving a report from the psychiatric hospital.
He ordered her to return to court today.
The case has triggered national and regional outrage against the legal system and political establishment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, especially after Farrell’s claim that she was in a years-long sexual relationship with the finance minister.
The finance minister has not responded to Farrell’s claim, apparently choosing to follow the advice of his father, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, to maintain “a dignified silence”.
The prime minister, a lawyer, however, has commented extensively on the case, saying, among other things, that in arriving at a decision, a magistrate can consider information not disclosed in open court.
Farrell is alleged to have used the insulting words toward the prime minister’s daughter-in-law when Farrell allegedly handed Duncan-Gonsalves what the prime minister called a “blackmail” letter at Duncan-Gonsalves’ then office at the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The prime minister said that that amidst Farrell’s alleged demands was EC$50,000 and that the charges against her parents, Gailene Farrell and Calvert Charles be withdrawn.
Gailene and Charles are before the court on unrelated attempted murder and arson charges. In July, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne discharged them after the prosecution told the Serious Offences Court that police had misplaced a crucial piece of evidence.
One week later, however, the couple was committed to stand trail on the same charges, that on Nov. 1, 2017, at Lowmans Bay, they attempted to murder Edward Durrant, a fellow villager.
Gailene has told iWitness News that she had heard about the alleged relationship between the finance minister and her daughter and had told the prime minister, last year, what she had heard.
The prime minister, however, has denied having such a conversation with the model’s mother, saying that when she came to see him last year, they spoke about a job for Yugge.