Barbadian QC leading defence in case involving former Vincentian model

Mrs Karen Duncan- Gonsalves and Yugge Farrell

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — Barbadian Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim is leading the defence in the case where a 23-year-old former model had been hospitalised at a mental institution while a magistrate decides on the arguments presented in court regarding the acceptance of a report from the psychiatric hospital.

The appearance of Pilgrim follows a recent statement by Grant Connell, the attorney who has been representing Yugge Farrell since her arraignment on January 5 that “I have been contacted by several senior attorneys throughout the Caribbean, who have expressed their willingness to render their legal services, pro bono”.

Earlier, attorney Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said she has been retained to see after the “human rights and mental health issues” of the former model, after she had been asked by her relatives to see after her interest.

Farrell, who has been at the Mental Health Centre for the past three weeks, has been charged with using abusive language to the wife of Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, on January 4.

When she appeared before Magistrate Bertie Pompey, on January 5, Farrell was ordered to undergo two weeks of psychiatric evaluation at the Mental Health Centre. The prosecution made the application for psychiatric evaluation after Farrell pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Pompey’s decision to grant the prosecution’s request in the absence of any supporting argument has led to widespread debate about the functioning of the judiciary in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since her hospitalisation, Farrell has made a number of allegations, including that she had been in a relationship with the 44-year-old minister that ended in 2016.

The finance minister has remained mum about the allegation and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has said that he has advised the minister, who is also his son, to delay comment and maintain a “dignified silence”.

Last week, Connell made a public call for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) discontinue the charge against his client.

Meanwhile, Star Radio, which is owned by the ruling Unity Labour Party, has apologised to its listeners for an expletive-laced in-studio conversation inadvertently broadcast on the matter involving the former model.

The conversation was broadcast last Wednesday for more than 30 minutes during the time allotted to the station’s “Street Beat” programme.