(Trinidad Guardian) Three mothers charged with unlawful possession of grocery items have been given until Monday to produce a receipt or proof that they purchased the items.
Kimberly Purcell, 35, Ameena Boiselle, 23 and Jennifer Garcia, 30, all of Valencia, were each granted $15,000 own bail by San Fernando Senior Magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine in the First Court on Friday.
They were arrested and charged by PC Roopchand on Thursday after they failed to provide a receipt or give a reasonable explanation of how they came about the goods found in their possession.
The grocery items included tissue, coffee, ghee, baby milk, peanut butter, nuts, rice, jam, insecticide, clothes detergent, mouthwash, soap, toothpaste, juice, bleach, dishwashing liquid, pepper sauce, air freshener, bug mat, tissue and two cases of water.
Roopchand, in his evidence, said the police received a report about three women acting suspiciously at GN Supermarket at Debe. Based on that information, Roopchand said he and his two colleagues stopped a red Nissan Tiida around 10 pm along the SS Erin Road. Purcell was the driver while Boisselle and Garcia were occupants.
Roopchand observed grocery items scattered on the back seat and floor. He said he also found three tied garbage bags containing more grocery items in the trunk. Roopchand said he asked the women if they were in possession of receipts for the items but they remained silent.
When he told them he believed the items were stolen or unlawfully obtained, Roopchand said the women still said nothing. He said he did not ask them if they were affected by the recent floods because he was suspicious of the way the items were scattered. If they were flood-relief donations, he said they would have been packaged in a better way.
In cross-examination by attorney Ainsley Lucky, Roopchand admitted he never asked the women where they obtained the items. Lucky said his instructions were that the women purchased the items in Princes Town at a mini-mart. Lucky put it to the officer that the items were in handle bags and fell out while the car was moving.
Roopchand denied seeing any handle bags in the car.
Lucky submitted to the magistrate that there was no definite proof of theft. He said Purcell said she discarded the receipt after purchasing the items. Lucky also argued it was not plausible that the women stole all those items, particularly the two cases of water, without being seen. He asked the magistrate to give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to go home to their family.
Seedan said the police received a report about the women’s suspicious behaviour, the women were hesitant to answer the police questions and gave the police no explanation as to how they came about the items.
Boisselle, a housewife and mother of a four-year-old girl, and Purcell, a housewife with three children ages 11, 10, four, had no convictions or pending matters. But Garcia, a housewife and mother of four children ages eight, seven, three and two, was recently convicted for larceny.
The matter was adjourned to Monday.