Woman re-files criminal charge against PM

However, the young woman has since re-filed her complaint and a new summons is due to be issued to the Prime Minister.

Cumberbatch, 36, of Field Trace, Quarry Road, San Juan, raised charges against Manning alleging that on May 21, in Port-of-Spain, Manning used annoying language to her “with intent to provoke the complainant (Cumberbatch) to commit a breach of peace, contrary to section 49 Chapter 11:02 of the Summary Offences Act”. A similar charge was raised against a Michael Vasqueo of Morvant.

Initially, the matter was listed to be called before Magistrate Christine Charles in the Port-of- Spain Second Magistrates’ Court. Cumberbatch arrived in the courtroom promptly at 9 am and was seated, waiting for her matter to be heard. Attorney Michael Quamina appeared in the courtroom shortly thereafter indicating to reporters he was representing the Prime Minister, who was on his way.

However, the matter was subsequently transferred to First Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Cheron Raphael. Quamina and Cumberbatch then proceeded to make their way to the First Court. However, when the attorney arrived in the First Court he enquired from the police prosecutors whether the matter involving the Prime Minister was on their listing.

The officers explained Mc Nicolls had exercised his right as the Chief Magistrate to hear any court matter, and as such the case was now listed to be heard in the Eighth Magistrates’ Court.

While Quamina proceeded to the Eighth Court, Cumberbatch, who was not informed of the immediate change in listing, remained in the First Court. Within minutes of the attorney’s arrival in the Eighth Court, McNicolls called the matter.

Cumberbatch’s name was called in open court but there was no response; even after her name was relayed in the hallway. Officers responded, “no appearance of Miss Cumberbatch.”

Mc Nicolls then said in light of the complainant’s absence the matter against Manning was dismissed. By that time, police prosecutors in the First Court had notified Cumberbatch the matter was transferred before the Chief Magistrate.

However, Cumberbatch was reluctant to leave because she saw the matter on the list for the First Court. The police prosecutors eventually were able to convince Cumberbatch of the transfer.

Subsequently, when she arrived in the Eighth Court at 9.23 am, Mc Nicolls had already dismissed both her matters.

Unaware, Cumberbatch sat in the Eighth Court for some time waiting for her matters to be called. It was only when Mc Nicolls left, police prosecutors informed the complainant of what had transpired.

A visibly upset Cumberbatch said she was going to re-lay the charges. She later visited a Justice of the Peace, at the Magistrates’ Court, and made applications to have the charges re-laid against the two men. The matters were approved and as such a summons against the Prime Minister and Vasquero would be issued and served. The offence carries a fine of $200 or 30 days’ imprisonment. More than an hour later as she left the courthouse, Cumberbatch refused to answer questions from reporters. By this time, the Prime Minister was driven past the courthouse after a brief stop on St Vincent Street. He never got out of his Mercedes Benz.

Cumberbatch is currently before the Second Court for a matter involving similar charges against her stepfather and mother, Stephen and Charmaine Joefield of McCarthy Street, San Juan. That matter is scheduled to resume on November 18.


"Woman re-files criminal charge against PM"

More in this section