Senator Ashelle Morgan, who has been charged with assault with intent to wound, has been granted one month’s leave of absence from Parliament.
Morgan, a lawyer and deputy speaker of the House of Assembly, made the announcement in a press statement on Tuesday.
“In light of the charge that I have been called upon to answer in the Magistrate’s Court; I have sought from the Speaker of the House of Assembly, a one (1) month leave of absence from the sittings of the House of Assembly, in the first instance,” Morgan said.
“While there is no legal or moral obligation for me to take such leave, I chose to do so voluntarily because I do not wish for the upcoming trial to distract from or to overshadow the business of the House of Assembly,” she said.
Morgan, who was appointed a government senator last November, applied for leave of absence on Monday, the first workday after she was arraigned on the charge.
House speaker Rochelle Forde granted the senator’s request, pursuant to Standing Order 74.
On Friday, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, sitting at the Serious Offences Court, granted Morgan EC$2,000 bail with one surety after she pleaded not guilty to a charge that on April 13, at Diamond, she assaulted Cornelius John, of Diamond, with intent to commit an offence, to wit, wounding.
Morgan was ordered to appear before the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on July 5 for trial.
Parliament was initially scheduled to meet on Tuesday of this week, but the meeting has been postponed to July 6 and 7, because Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was ordered to quarantine for seven days after returning from a meeting in Venezuela last Friday.
Morgan, along with Karim Nelson, an assistant director of public prosecution, is alleged to have been among three persons who went to John’s home on April 13, when he was shot.
Nelson has been charged that on April 13, at Diamond, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded John, and that on the same date and place, he unlawfully discharged a firearm at John.
He pleaded not guilty and was granted composite bail in the sum of EC$10,000 with one surety and was ordered to surrender his passport.
The court ordered Nelson to have no contact with the virtual complainant and ordered that stop notices be placed at ports of entry and exit.
Also, on Friday, the chief magistrate granted John EC$2,500 bail in his own recognizance — meaning he was not required to provide a surety – on charges that he used threatening language to his wife, Nicole John, and one count of using threatening language to Morgan.
He allegedly committed the offences at Diamond, on April 13.