Abuse of state machinery in former top model case

Abuse of state machinery in former top model case
Vincentian lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste.
Kay Bacchus-Baptiste

A prominent lawyer representing a former top Vincentian model has described as “a colossal misuse and abuse of state machinery” the case in which the ex-model was sent to a psychiatric institution for evaluation.

The case has gripped the nation and has garnered national, regional and international outrage ever since Magistrate Bertie Pompey, of the Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Magistrate’s Court, ordered, on Jan. 5, that Yugge Farrell, 22, be sent to the St Vincent and Grenadines’ Mental Health Center for a two-week evaluation.

Farrell had pleaded not guilty to an “abusive language” charge after reportedly calling the day before Karen Duncan-Gonsalves, the wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, a “dirty bitch.” Camillo Gonsalves is the son of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves.

On completion of the two-week evaluation, Farrell was again ordered to return to the same mental institution, the country’s lone mental health facility, by another magistrate while he decided on arguments presented by the prosecution and the defense.

Farrell has since been released from the mental hospital.

“The magistrate was wrong to commit her to ‘mental home’ [the mental hospital], when she was already pleaded,” Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, one of the lawyers representing Farrell, told Caribbean Life in an interview on Sunday. “The ‘mental home’ was wrong to give her drugs, when she was sent for evaluation only.

“PM [Prime Minister] Gonsalves was wrong to say police can go behind defendant’s back privately and tell him information to influence the case he is to try,” added Bacchus-Baptiste, a newly-appointed New Democratic Party (NDP) senator.

“The medical doctors who said she [Farrell] was unfit to plead, after plying her with three anti-psychotic drugs, were not well qualified. In any event, the well-trained psychiatrist I brought in [in the country] said the doctor was wrong to determine in her report [that] Yugge [Farrell] was unfit to plead,” she continued.

“It was a colossal misuse and abuse of state machinery,” Bacchus-Baptiste affirmed. “Camillo Gonsalves is morally wrong to remain silent and must resign. [It] will happen in any civilized country.”

Bacchus-Baptiste said Farrell’s parents have given her sworn affidavit supporting “all claims of Yugge against Camillo.”

In videos posted on the social network, Facebook, Farrell accused Camillo Gonsalves of, among other things, having a past sexual relationship with her.

Meantime, at the urging of the prime minister, the finance minister, who reportedly is being “groomed” to succeed his father, has maintained “dignified silence” on the matter. The Gonsalves are also lawyers.

During the initial court hearing, defense attorney Grant Connell had objected to the court sending Farrell to the Mental Health Center for evaluation.

“Half the people out there, in my opinion, shouldn’t be out there,” the local online news outlet iWitness News quoted Connell as saying. “Once you go out there, and you get that injection, that’s when they send them crazy.”

Connell had also told the court that while Farrell “may look very simple, she was a runner-up of the Caribbean’s Next Top Model in 2015,” according to iWitness News.

“Next top model,” Connell stressed, reiterating his objection to the “evaluation.”

Some Vincentian nationals in Canada and New York have been protesting the case against Farrell, carrying placards at major thoroughfares.

More from Around NYC