Sacked doctor, Vishwamintra Persaud was refused bail when he appeared at the Blairmont Magistrate’s Court today charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old female.
He is scheduled to return to court on August 3. The case was called before Magistrate Roby Benn.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector Grace Bristol asked for bail to be refused. She submitted too that the defendant is a flight risk and could tamper with the witness.
Attorney-at-law, Joel Persid-Edmond, in his application for bail, submitted that the grounds that the prosecution put forward were mere speculation. He argued that the prosecutor did not have concrete evidence.
The lawyer said too that the girl is in the custody of the Child Care and Protection Agency. He said his client is a businessman of Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice. After listening to the submissions, the magistrate refused bail.
Yesterday, the man’s lawyer says he was concerned that his client had been kept in custody beyond the stipulated 72-hour period which expired at 3 pm on Saturday.
“He is still in custody and it is not legally permissible for the police to do so…They made no application to extend the period he can remain in custody and therefore he should have been released,” the lawyer said.
He said that his client, who continues to maintain his innocence, is very concerned about what he sees as the abuse of power by the police keeping him locked up even though the 72 hours has expired. Further, the attorney said when he approached the “top crime man for the Berbice area” the police officer told him that he was advised to keep the doctor in custody until today when he is to appear in court. The lawyer contended that the police should have put his client on bail and as a precaution could have instructed him to report to the station yesterday morning. He said he tried on Saturday to have habeas corpus proceedings filed in the High Court to seek his client’s release but was unsuccessful.
The doctor was arrested last week and the child he is accused of molesting has been placed into the custody of the Child Care & Protection Agency (CCPA). She has since been examined by doctors.
Stabroek News was told that officers from the CCPA received the information earlier this year about the alleged assault which reportedly occurred on two occasions – in November last year and again in February.
However, they did not have the details about the victim to pursue the matter. According to sources, it was not until last Wednesday that the officers received a call with the directions for the victim and they immediately visited her home.
Dr. Persaud of Bush Lot was fired from the GPH after information surfaced that his licence was terminated in the US because he was a child sex felon.
Persid-Edmond had told Stabroek News last week that his client’s arrest came one day after an employee who worked at his shop at Bush Lot was fired reportedly for embezzlement. It is alleged that the employee had threatened “that she would get him in trouble if he should fire her at anytime.”
He had said too that his client had no knowledge about the allegations which seem to stem from family problems.
The lawyer had pointed out that after his client’s licence to practice was revoked he took over a business that was being run by relatives for over 40 years.
He said some persons were apparently annoyed that his client was in control of the business and saw the allegations as “a way of getting back at him.” He said though that “we are prepared to battle it.”
Stabroek News has been reliably informed that the parents of the child did not want the matter to be investigated and indicated that they did not want the doctor to get into trouble. The father of the child reportedly told officials that he wanted his daughter returned to him and wanted the matter to be dropped because he did not like the publicity it was generating since “it would spoil his daughter.”
The molestations allegedly occurred when the doctor was staying at the family’s home and slept on the floor with the girl.
“If it was left to the parents the police would not have investigated the matter,” the source continued, adding that it was the child’s older sister who had to ask the doctor to leave the home after she learnt about the alleged molestation.
Meanwhile, Persid-Edmond said the police took Dr. Persaud to his business place three hours after he was held to investigate an allegation that he was running a secret medical clinic there.
However, they found no evidence to suggest that.
According to New York Department of Health documents, on April 18, 2008 Dr. Persaud entered a guilty plea of “attempted course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree.”
On June 11, the same year, he was sentenced to an eight-year order of protection, ten years probation, fined US$25,500 and various fees and surcharges