Accused arsonist out on bail

Virginia Rolande Shillingford of Newtown was finally granted bail in the sum of $10,000 on her own recognizance following a self-bail application a week ago at the Magistrate’s Court.

Shillingford is charged with arson after being accused of burning down the House of the Tabernacle (Waitikubuli Nyabinghi House) and a house belonging to Cecil Harve in Giraudel last year.

No one appeared to stand bail for the defendant; however, she assured the court that a family member would do so.

When a criminal suspect is arrested, booked and granted “own recognizance” release, no bail money needs to be paid to the court, and no bond is posted. The suspect is merely released after promising, in writing, to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings.

In previous appearances before Magistrate Evelina Baptiste, Shillingford was ordered to undergo psychological evaluation. She blurted out expletives in the courtroom and insulted Magistrate Baptiste, accusing her of eating too much pork.

When she appeared at the Magistrate’s Court this afternoon attorney-at-law Peter Alleyne informed the court that the complainants were willing to discontinue the matter.

“Based on certain grounds … the parties have informed me that they’re no longer interested in the matter … seeing they’ve given evidence it is in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions to withdraw … we intend to approach the DPP to start that process,” Alleyne explained.

He suggested that the DPP is the only one who has the authority to file discontinuance of the matter, and stated that the complainants would meet with the DPP to have that done.

While the Police Prosecutor Inspector Matthew Cuff did not object to that move, Magistrate Baptiste expressed concern for Shillingford’s well being.

“My concerns…for you, personally, is the issue of rehabilitation,” she told the young woman.

The magistrate encouraged Shillingford to take her medication and recommended additional rehabilitation for her.

“When you came here the first time you looked like you was suffering from something. It appears to me that you look better now. I think there should be some continuous rehabilitation. You need to take your medication or whatever you need to do,” Baptiste proposed.

Shillingford was warned that criminal behavior not only affects one or two persons, but the entire society. Magistrate Baptiste also stated her concerns that Shillingford would not fall into another “rut.”

“I agree with you Your Worship,” Shillingford responded.

Bail conditions set for Shillingford are that she should report to the Roseau Police Station every Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and continue any treatment of therapy. If she breaches any of those conditions, her bail will be withdrawn. Her next court appearance is on March 1, 2010.

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1 Comment

  1. Observer
    January 22, 2010

    Sometimes forgiveness is key. It is pointless to cry down a sistren who is mentally unstable. But Dominica should really look into decent psychological care/counselling for persons. I mean this lady and others cannot just be loose out there to create havoc at their own discretion when they get sick. There should be rehabilitation methods in place for these people. All the best to Ms Shillingford and I pray that you will find that social support that you so need in order to stabilize yourself.

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