Abduction accused says police got ‘wrong man’

-but caught lying by other magistrate

A man accused of abducting a female was on Tuesday remanded to prison after appearing before acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

The allegation against Osafa Stewart is that on February 18 at Georgetown, he abducted Tamika Samuels with intent to confine her.

The defendant was not required to plead to the indictable charge of abduction when it was read to him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

A vociferous Stewart denied before the acting chief magistrate that his name is Osafa Stewart. The accused argued strongly that the police had gotten the “wrong man.”

According to him, he never abducted anyone and his name is Osafa Rondell.

Police Corporal Venetta Pindar made a request that the accused be denied his pre-trial liberty, adding that he had given the police several conflicting names.

Stewart who swore that he is Osafa Rondell and is known by no other name made an unsuccessful request for his matter to be stood down for a short while after explaining that his attorney was on his way.

According to Stewart, his lawyer was in possession of his birth certificate, his passport and national identification cards which all bore the name Osafa Rondell.

The accused said that he had only recently returned to Guyana and was at his mother’s house when the police invaded and began opening fire stating that they were in search of Osafa Stewart.

Meanwhile, the prosecution told the court that the facts were as charged after which no further details of what transpired on the day in question were provided.

The acting chief magistrate presented to the defendant a list of case jackets with the name Osafa Stewart which contained charges of armed robbery on the said Tamika Samuels, breach of insurance and break and enter and larceny for which he had been sentenced to three years imprisonment in his absence.

The accused who begged in vain for bail stated that he had never been placed before the courts nor ever had problems with the law before.
“I never had matters before or problem with the law,” Stewart stressed.

Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry then transferred the matter before Magistrate Hazel Octive-Hamilton who presides at Court Five in the said precinct for her to identify the accused as Osafa Stewart since according to Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry it was she who had presided over the previous matters involving Stewart.
In a twist of events, however, when the accused appeared before the Court Five magistrate mere minutes later, he answered to the name Osafa Stewart as was presented earlier by the prosecution before Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry.

“Was it not you who had appeared before me for a series of other matters by the name Osafa Stewart?” Magistrate Octive-Hamilton asked.
“Yes,” a visibly embarrassed Stewart replied.

After pointing out to the accused that he had lied to the acting chief magistrate at Court One, Magistrate Octive–Hamilton informed him that she too was going to remand him, noting that he never attends court when required to do so.

The magistrate said that she was forced to sentence him in his absence since he had absconded. For this reason, she said that she was going to deny bail.
Stewart was then remanded to prison and was still not represented by counsel almost 15 minutes after, even though he had told the court that his lawyer was arriving shortly to present documents that he was Osafa Rondell.

His matter will be called again on April 29 for the commencement of the preliminary inquiry.

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