Rooftop protest prisoner assaulted nurse, court told

A former inmate of the Camp Street prison who was involved in a rooftop protest two Sundays ago was yesterday placed on $90, 000 bail after being arraigned on charges of assaulting a nurse attached to the prison and damaging a shirt following his protest.

The allegation against Deon Braithwaite is that on July 28 at the Camp Street Prison, he unlawfully assaulted Odetta Melville so as to cause her actual bodily harm. On the same day, he is alleged to have damaged one regulation shirt valued $2500, property of the Guyana Prison Service.

The 37-year-old father of two who resides at Lot 10 D’urban Street, Lodge denied both charges when they were read to him by Magistrate Judy Latchman before whom he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Attorney Paul Fung-a-Fat representing Braithwaite said that according to his instructions, the nurse at the infirmary was attempting to administer a “mad” injection to his client and he refused.
Presenting the facts of the case, Prosecutor Vishnu Hunt said that at the time of the incident, the defendant was an inmate of the prison on a charge of attempted murder. According to Hunt, on the day in question, Braithwaite was on the roof of the prison protesting and subsequently sustained injuries during efforts to remove him.

The prosecutor explained that after being taken to the infirmary to receive treatment for his wounds, Braithwaite armed himself with a chair and broke a bulb before holding onto Melville and physically assaulting her. The prosecutor objected to the defendant being granted his pre-trial liberty saying that he was concerned that since the defendant had allegedly attacked the nurse while in police custody, he may likely do the same if he sees her on the road.

When asked by the court, Hunt reported that Melville sustained scratches to her left ear, injury to her lower back and lacerations about the body.

Braithwaite, when given a chance to speak, said that he was attacked by some prison wardens whom he identified as Mr. Charles, Ted and Mr. Tamo upon prompting by the Magistrate to state their names.

After hearing submissions from both sides, the court granted Braithwaite $70,000 bail on the assault charge and $20,000 for that of damage to property. His case continues on September 5.

At the time of the incident, Braithwaite was a prisoner on a charge that on October 29, 2012 he unlawfully and maliciously wounded Safraz Gani, with intent to commit murder.

On Tuesday, he was committed to stand trial in the High Court on this charge after Magistrate Ann McLennan found that a prima facie case had been made out against him. Braithwaite is accused of spearing Gani to his chest with a pitchfork. He was subsequently granted bail in this matter.

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