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Janet Thomas

The defendant, Janett Thomas leaves the court after the hearing.

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By Gloridene Hoyte-John

The theft charge against the 21-year-old disabled Park Hill woman, who was sent for a mental health evaluation after an alleged police beating, has been withdrawn.

Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent of Police John Ballah withdrew the charge on Dec. 2, at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, after the accused woman, Janett Thomas, who had pleaded not guilty, had spent six weeks undergoing court-ordered mental health evaluation.

Ballah informed the magistrate that he had not seen a follow-up report on Thomas from the Mental Health Centre, who had asked that she remain hospitalised for one month, after the initial two weeks that the court had ordered.

He further told the court that having reviewed the case file, the prosecution was withdrawing the case as the evidence was “extremely weak” and he did not want to waste the court’s time.

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Thomas was sent for psychiatric evaluation after the charge was brought against her and after she had made several appearances at the Georgetown and Colonarie Magistrate’s Courts.

Bertie Pompey is magistrate at the two courts, both of which sit in Georgetown.

Thomas appeared before Pompey at the Colonarie Magistrate’s Court, on Sept. 9, charged that on July 21 at Park Hill, she stole EC$198, the property of fellow villager Andrea James.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Pompey then ordered Thomas to be warded at the Mental Health Centre for two weeks for psychiatric evaluation.

Thomas’ mother, Arrianne Thomas, who had tears streaming down her face, tried to get the attention of the court orderlies saying, “Me car [can’t] go stand up with she (in the dock)?”

Janett’s mother told iWitness News in August that her daughter suffered a “stroke” when she was 3 years old and is now unable to use one of her hands.

Janett is also “retarded” as a result of the stroke and is often abused, including sexually, Arianne further said.

With her daughter still in the dock, Arrianne approached Ballah, and said, “Can I say something?”

Ballah told the woman to sit, telling her that she should have approached him before.

Arrianne then blurted out, “Your honour, can I say something?” 

Court orderlies and the magistrate immediately reprimanded her.

The mother apologised for her outburst.

Granted the opportunity to address the court, Arrianne told the court that her daughter is “not mental”, and should not be placed in a mental health institution.

She said Janett has seizures and may have tried to commit suicide on two occasions after she was allegedly beaten by a female police officer at a police station in the east of the country, after the theft allegation.

In light of what the mother said, the court stood by the ruling to have Janett institutionalised for two weeks.

Janet returned to court, as scheduled, on Oct 31.

The evaluation report prepared by the mental institution recommended that she remain at the Mental Health Centre for a month for further evaluation, the magistrate said.

Pompey ordered that Janett be committed to the Mental Health Centre for one month and return to court on Dec. 2.

After the charge was withdrawn, Janett left the court in the company of her mother.

12 replies on “‘Extremely weak’ case withdrawn against woman who court sent to mental hospital”

  1. Abuse of power.Mr Pompey l know you are not a very intelligent man.But you have a lot of experience that qualifies you for your Job.Which mean you are competent.So that’s why l used the word abuse of power..That young lady should of been protected and not prosecuted.

  2. Master's Student says:

    My Freedom Hall Friend…..John Ballah…..I am so sorry for SVG….we need a human rights Committee or Board…..

  3. Master's Student says:

    poverty, hunger, mental illnesses of all kinds, abuse sexually, physically, emotionally , psychologically, and financially, discrimination, bullying at schools and the work place, sexual exploitation of women, domestic abuse, child abuse and maltreatment of children, unemployment, underemployment…..all are plaguing our country in SVG because of poor governance and faulty economic theories!! These are all human rights issues that need to be addressed if we want our country to move forward….how can anyone be productive if more than half of our human resources and population need help!!!!!!

    1. Rawlston Pompey says:


      The ‘…inefficient and incompetent’ has no business in criminal investigations, let alone enforcing criminal law..

      The innocent could be placed in ‘…serious physical and prosecutorial jeopardy.’

      Reading the original news story [IWN: July 29, 2019], it was obvious that the apparent ‘…Brutal Investigator’ had found the defendant ‘…Guilty on Suspicion and Disability.’

      Even with the alleged ‘…brutal beating,’ the defendant was adamant that she had stolen no money.

      What was even more troubling, is that it appeared that ‘…no evidence was led of her ‘…mental state,’ before Magistrate Bertie Pompey reportedly ordered her confined to the ‘…Glenn’s Psychiatric Hospital’ for two weeks of psychiatric evaluation.’

      Now adding insult to injury and to her mother and daughter’s miseries, the institution’s evaluators had reportedly asked for a ‘…month’ to complete their evaluation.

      If this was not ‘…an abuse of magisterial powers,’ then what is?

      Moreover, if the investigation and subsequent charging of the defendant with the stealing of the ‘…missing money’ was not ‘…framing,’ then what is?

      The judiciary shall be asked to visit upon the police for inter alia, (i) ‘…False arrest and (ii) …Malicious prosecution.’

  4. It appears that whenever abuse by government ministers or their sons is reported the magistrate send the women to the mental hospital. Now the police are being afforded the same protection form people that report them for brutality. Everyone in SVG knows about police brutality its such a common thing.

    Perhaps the magistrate needs investigating, send her to the mental home for evaluation.

  5. people please think for a minute before commenting on impulse with your emotions …….if someone tried to kill themselves twice and have been abused ….evaluation them mental health treatment is not a bad think … can actually help them once diagnose , administered and treated correctly smh

  6. Across the Miles says:

    I remember reading this story some months ago when the young lady alleged she was beaten by the police. Were these allegations looked into. It really breaks my heart how the less fortunate in my homeland are treated by those in a position of trust.

    I wish someone would stand up for the less fortunate and seek to prosecute those in the Force who take advantage of their circumstances.

  7. The police are using the public as a gymnasium, using people as a punch bags. When will this stop? It’s not just the lower ranks in the force who engage in this behaviour, leading officers are involved.

  8. Saint Vincent’s Police have had a continual stream of brutality complaints against it for years now. The problem is it is often leading officers who conduct that brutality, which directly trains the observant lesser officers of how to beat up on prisoners and the accused.

    Prisoners are turning up to court hearings with black eyes, bruised faces, and difficulty to breath with probably broken ribs. It’s not a rare occurrence; it is very, very common.

    Police are picking up people they do not like and driving them miles away from where they live and making them walk home.

    Police are obtaining search warrants against false and/or invented information.

    Police brutality or police violence is an umbrella term to describe any unjustified or intentional harassment, verbal assault, physical/mental injury, property damage, or death suffered due to interaction with the police. Police brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct which involves extreme undue violence by police members. Police brutality is a severe form of police violence involving physical harm or death to a person or animal. Widespread police brutality exists in Saint Vincent. Although illegal, police officers falsely claiming to have been attacked first, or claiming the accused resisted arrest.

    From January 2020 on, there will be a more significant opportunity to embarrass the Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph E Gonsalves, who remains ever silent on condemning police behavior. Because when SVG sits at the Security Council, their behavior will become more scrutinizable, and many accusations can be put forward accusing Gonsalves of failing to properly control the police who are part of one of his governmental ministries. This behavior will become informed not only to Vincentians but to the Caribbean region and the British Commonwealth of which we are members.

    Currently, there are so many police officers themselves arrested for crimes, some of which extremely serious; one wonders how they will be able to continue policing the nation.

    Because Ralph Gonsalves fails to publicly speak out on this matter, can one assume that he approves of police brutality?

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