Accused arsonist awaits bails

A Newtown woman, accused of setting fire to two buildings last year, may be released on bail next week.

Virginia Rolande Shillingford made an application for self bail when she appeared at the Roseau Magistrate’s Court today. She is accused of burning down the House of the Tabernacle (Waitikubuli Nyabinghi House) and a house belonging to Cecil Harve in Giraudel last year.

Shillingford’s bail application was on the grounds that she had been on remand for more than six months, it was her first offense, and she is a decent person who would not cause mayhem if released. She also vowed that she would not repeat her offense.

The police prosecutor counteracted Shillingford’s application by pointing out, “While we understand her situation, she is accused of a very serious matter. The value of bail for arson is $150,000. The items that were destroyed were of sentimental value that cannot be replaced…”
“We pity her. Eight months on remand… we understand, we feel her pain… I am not sure the virtual complainant will be happy to see that she was released on her own without the proper means,” the prosecutor added.

Chief Magistrate Evelina Baptiste denied bail  for the female prisoner today, stating that at least one surety would be needed to stand before she could grant bail. However, she gave the defendant the opportunity to secure one surety to appear in court on Tuesday January 19, 2010.

“Someone who can exercise influence over you…” The chief magistrate asserted.

When questioned Shillingford said that if granted bail she had no definite place to stay. She was advised by the magistrate to organise a place of abode before her next bail application.

Meanwhile Shillingford was remanded until January 19, 2010.

Following her arrest last August, Shillingford was ordered to undergo  a psychological evaluation after making obscene gestures and vulgar expressions in court. She re-appeared before a magistrate two weeks later and has been remanded at the state prison since then.

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