One day before her trial was to begin and two weeks after the court’s deadline expired, no evidence had been disclosed to the defence in connection with Annamay Lewis’ alleged wounding of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
Lewis, a 56-year-old vendor, of Layou, is scheduled to be tried today (Wednesday) on a charge that on Aug. 5, in Kingstown, she wounded the prime minister — who turned 75 on Aug. 8.
Lewis was arraigned on the wounding charge on Aug. 9, and the court ordered disclosure by Aug. 31, and set Sept. 15 for trial.
Then, she was re-arrested and arraigned, on Sept. 8 on a charge that, on Aug. 5, in Kingstown, in a public place, to wit White Chapel Road, she threw missiles to the danger of persons who were present.
The court ordered disclosure by Sept. 13 and set trial for the throwing of missile charge, also for Sept. 15.
However, her lawyers, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste and Israel Bruce, told a press conference in Kingstown, on Tuesday, that they had only received disclosure in relation to the throwing of missiles charge.
“I am predicting today, publicly, that the state will drop the charge against Annamay Lewis for wounding Dr. Gonsalves,” Bruce told the press conference.
He noted that on Tuesday morning, it seems as if St.Vincent and Grenadines “took a particular direction” after “a video that was put out there”.
He was referring to a video, which shows a woman, resembling Lewis, apparently throwing an object under the White Chapel Road gallery of the Building and Loan Association building, in Kingstown.
Bruce confirmed that the video has been disclosed to the defence.
“But that is in connection to the charge of throwing missiles, not in connection to the charge of wounding Dr. Gonsalves,” the lawyer said.
“So we want persons to understand when you’re out there and you’re sucking up the social media story, understand what they are seeking to do. They’re trying to distract, and the media must know it and put it out there.”
The lawyer said that the “video was put out there to try to give the impression to the people of this country that ‘Here is the smoking gun. Here is the evidence that Annamay Lewis is the culprit to injure Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of this country’”.
He went on to “predict” that the prosecution would withdraw the wounding charge.
“And the charge that they’ve brought for throwing missiles, that that is the charge that they will proceed against her on. I am predicting that.
“Why? Because they know there is no evidence for them to make out the charge and lead against Ms. Lewis. None. And I know that there are those who will continue the condemnation.
“That video does not bear out the charge that she, Annamay Lewis, was the person who caused the injury to Dr. Gonsalves. But, mark what I said and you follow it down the road,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, Bacchus-Baptiste, the senior counsel on the legal team, agreed with her junior and also “predicted” that the Crown would withdraw the wounding charge.
She said that the police had said that Lewis had confessed to the wounding charge, and government senator Julian Francis has said that the alleged assailant has confessed and had requested an opportunity to apologise to the prime minister.
“I want you members [of the media] to reflect on the seriousness of this. Had I not intervened, this lady was going to apologise to the prime minister for an offence that she did not commit, and will go down in history as an attempted murder on the prime minister’s life,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
Some government MPs and supporters of the ruling Unity Labour Party have described the wounding of the prime minister as an attempt on his life.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that police had kept Lewis in one of their vehicles for hours outside the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, in Kingstown, where Gonsalves was being treated, so she could go and apologise.
“I called the station about four times that night and could not find her. They kept telling me she’s not there. Eventually, the last time when I got her sometime around 10:30 [p.m.] or something like that — minutes to 11, she said to me, they put her in a room and made her do a statement to confess that it is her.
“She said, ’It is not me. I did not do it. But they made me sign a confession’ I spoke about it, and brought on the wrath of the CID man who’s in charge, because I told her to change your story.”
The lawyer, however, said that the law allows for someone to amend an untrue statement.
“In fact, the law is that even if the statement is true, you can’t force somebody to sign it, it will not be admissible. That’s the law. But in this case, the statement was not true.”
Bacchus-Baptiste said that while Lewis’ trial is set for Wednesday, “to our dismay, we got disclosure; we got disclosure not for the matter they charged her with about wounding the [prime minister]. But for throwing missiles, a very minute offence that carries a maximum of three months.”
The lawyer said she was waiting to see the prime minister’s statement “to say how he got injured, where the stone fall, where he was exactly when it happened.
“We are not going to allow them to manipulate our system, we are not going to allow them to bring on this minute charge and think they’re going to proceed with this. And even in this we don’t have full disclosure, but in the main matter, which she was charged with and kept in prison for four nights, not a single disclosure, even though the court ordered disclosure by the 31st [of August].
“… we must not let them get away with it — they think that they’re going to now push that charge in your background, because their plot has been exposed, they were only going to want her confession and find her guilty. But now they know they can’t just bring the confession. So they’re going to — I want to take what Bruce say, I want to predict that too — … push this one and then get their minions, because I know how that video was leaked and I know was circulating that so-called clip, which is not admissible.
“A little piece of clip from what really happened, you know, six seconds, that we will deal with when the time comes. But I want the public to realise that the main reason that they took Annamay up for and lost in prison for four nights, they have not yet given us disclosure. And we’re not going to allow them to manipulate the system,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.