Magistrate Hazel Octave-Hamilton remanded to prison a 24-year-old cook accused of assaulting a woman, when he appeared in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court to answer the charge.
Song Chang Chun denied that on August 7 at D’Urban and Camp streets Georgetown he unlawfully assaulted Hardai Murilall so as to cause her actual bodily harm. After the charge was read to the Chinese national, he told the court in English that he did not understand. The magistrate then asked him if he understood English and the defendant again said he didn’t understand.
His attorney, Nigel Hughes, told the court that while his client knows some amount of English, he is not fluent in the language. Hughes also told the court that the complex construction of words in the charge which consists of legal terminologies can pose a difficulty for his client to understand. He then said based on the advice he had given to his client, his client was instructed to enter a not guilty plea to the charge and that same should be recorded by the court. He then asked the court to grant Chun bail in a reasonable sum as he poses no flight risk.
However, the prosecution objected to the accused being granted bail on the grounds that he has yet to show police that he is legally residing here and that additional charges are likely. Police Corporal Venetta Pindar contended that in these circumstances, if granted bail, there is a likelihood that Chun may not return to court to stand trial.
Hughes, in his rebuttal to the prosecution’s objection, said that his client’s passport is at the Chinese Embassy and as such poses no risk of flight. No facts of what transpired on the day in question were presented to the court.
According to Pindar, the investigating rank asked the accused to provide his passport and he has failed to do so. She also noted that there is no need for the defendant’s passport to be lodged at the Chinese Embassy, instead, she said, it should be submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs for documentation and then to the Immigration Department.
After listening to submissions from both sides, the magistrate said the defence failed to satisfy the court with grounds to show that the accused is not a flight risk. As a result he was remanded to prison until October 19 where he was ordered to appear in Court One.