Chief Justice Ian Chang on Tuesday granted bail to 35-year-old Alana Taylor after Magistrate Judy Latchman refused bail for the woman for a third time in as many court appearances on a robbery charge that the police initially admitted was mistakenly filed against the woman.
Attorney Mark Waldron moved to the High Court and got bail for the mother of three in the sum of $80,000 after Magistrate Latchman refused bail again on Tuesday morning. Waldron’s application outlined that the offence the woman was charged for is a bailable offence and that she is the mother of three children including a one year old who is still breast-feeding. He also pointed out to the court that the young woman had no previous encounters with the law.
Last Wednesday, Alana Taylor appeared in court on a robbery charge along with two other persons but during her court appearance, the Police Prosecutor informed the court that there is an error in the filing of the charges and that the young woman was mistakenly charged in connection with the robbery case.
Despite his revelation to the court that the Prosecutor no longer intended to move forward with the case, the Magistrate still went ahead with the charge and remanded the woman to prison.
When the young lady made her second court appearance two days later on Friday, a new Police Prosecutor was in place and informed the court that he got advice from the Director of Public Prosecution’s office via a phone call and that advice was that he should proceed with the charge against the woman.
At that stage, Attorney Mark Waldron objected and told the court that he has never heard of the DPP giving advice by way of a phone call to the prosecuting police officer. The Magistrate instructed that the file be sent to the DPP and the court meets later on the same day for the DPP’s advice.
When the court met later on Friday, the Magistrate was told by the Police Prosecutor that the DPP had now indicated that the file was incomplete and therefore no advice could be offered at the time since there were missing and incomplete statements. This was coming from the same Prosecutor who hours before told the same court that he was instructed to proceed with the charges.
Attorney Mark Waldron pointed out the inconsistency to the court but the Magistrate still refused bail.
The matter was called again on Tuesday and the Police had still not completed its work in order to send the file to the DPP. The Magistrate again refused bail for the young woman and it was at that stage that Waldron decided to take his bail application to the High Court where bail was granted moments later.
The young woman, Alana Taylor is expected to return to court later this week.
(Photo Credit: Mark Benschop)