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Saving Grace For Woman Who Blamed Demon Spirits

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A PROBATION report was the “saving grace” from five years imprisonment for a convicted woman who claimed “demon spirits” influenced her into using the name of known international missionaries to obtain more than $80,000 from a housewife.

Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis told 41-year-old Patricia Edgecombe yesterday that the report from a Sandilands Rehabilitative Centre officer, which notes that the actions of the defendant were totally out of character, “is the saving grace that you are not going to jail for five years”.

Taking the report into consideration, which noted that the Cable Beach resident was capable of rehabilitation and deserving of a second chance through probation, the magistrate gave Edgecombe probation for three years with conditions attached.

“You are to find employment and 25 per cent of whatever you earn will be paid to the virtual complainant. You will return to court on a six months basis to report to the court on that,” the magistrate ordered.

“Should you breach my order, immediately you will be at Her Majesty’s Prison for three years,” he added.

Her next court appearance is November 7.

Charges and History of the Case

On March 12, Edgecombe was convicted of seven counts of fraud by false pretences, which she initially denied last October when she was first arraigned.

It was claimed that on June 19, 2012, with intent to defraud, she obtained $7,600 from Maxine Julien by means of false pretences.

It was further claimed that on the following day, June 20, she obtained $10,000 from Ms Julien under false pretences.

On July 3, the complainant was defrauded of $11,000, and then $12,000 on July 12. On August 30, $9,000 was obtained from the complainant.

A week later, on September 7, $12,000 was obtained from the complainant under false pretences.

Finally Edgecombe was alleged to have obtained $20,600 from the complainant under false presences on September 11.

On the days in question, the complainant was contacted by a woman claiming to be Paul Morton, TD Jakes and others asking for monitory contributions to help people in need.

At the end of September, the complainant’s husband received a paper trail of recent withdrawals from their joint account and through inquiries from the complainant, the matter was investigated after being reported to police.

Edgecombe was granted $50,000 bail as she had no previous convictions or pending matters before the court.

A trial date was set for the end of January 2013.

After a few adjournments, Edgecombe was sent to Sandllands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) to be evaluated to see if she was mentally fit to stand trial. She was not represented by counsel.

Defendant’s Claim of Demonic Influence

On March 12, Edgecombe appeared in court for the commencement of ttrial when the magistrate noted that SRC said Edgecombe was fit to stand trial.

Though she told the court she was feeling lightheaded, she said she could go on.

Max Julien, the husband of Mrs Julien, testified that monies in the savings account he had set aside for his construction supplies business was nearly depleted.

When he spoke to his wife about this, she told him about what had occurred over the past few months.

Mr Julien said he quickly reported the matter to the police. An investigation followed.

When given the opportunity to cross-examine Mr Julien, Edgecombe said she had no questions and had only wanted to say “sorry” to Mr Julien.

The magistrate explained to her what the purpose of a cross-examination was, as she was not represented by counsel.

Edgecombe turned to Mr Julien who was on the stand and said: “I just want to say I’m sorry, sir.”

Magistrate Rolle-Davis told her the statement was not a question, but would assume that based on her choice of words, she wanted to change her plea.

Edgecombe said she did.

After excusing Mr Julien from court, the magistrate re-read the seven fraud charges to Edgecombe who pleaded guilty to all of them.

“Is there anything you wish to say to me before you receive punishment?” the magistrate asked.

“I just want to say I’m very sorry and ask that you have mercy on me,” she said.

“Why’d you do it?” the magistrate asked.

“Demon spirits,” she replied.

“Demon spirits?” the magistrate asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“How’d you do it?” the magistrate asked.

“I pretended to be somebody I’m not,” she answered.

The guilty plea was accepted and she was convicted accordingly before the magistrate noted the Sandiland’s report that Edgecombe was fit and recommendations that she receive person and group psychotherapy along with prescribed medication.

“In the circumstances, I’m going to have you assessed more in depth before I decide punishment for you,” he said.

He noted that a probation report will be done and presented to the court on May 9.

The ‘Saving Grace’

In yesterday’s sentencing proceedings, Christina Swain, a SRC probation officer, presented a summation of the report to the court.

She noted that Edgecombe was raised by both of her parents where she received “spiritual guidance from childhood.” 

Though she did not complete the high school in her last years, she lived a “crime-free life” up until the time of the offenses and had stable employment until around the time of the fraud when she was out of a job.

Persons known to the defendant and interviewed by the SRC officer indicated that the offences were “totally out of character” for Edgecombe and that she was worthy of a second chance at redemption, having admitted guilt and taken responsibility for her actions.

The officer noted that Edgecombe was a “capable and good candidate for probation.”

Taking the report into consideration, which noted that the Cable Beach resident was capable of rehabilitation and deserving of a second chance through probation, the magistrate gave Edgecombe probation for three years with conditions attached.

“You are to find employment and 25 percent of whatever you earn will be paid to the virtual complainant. You will return to court on a  six months basis to report to the court on that” the magistrate ordered.

“Should you breach my order, immediately you will be at Her Majesty’s Prison for three years” he added.

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 5 months ago

Only in a Bahamaland Magistrates Court, you say?

The Comrade Magistrate Derence could turned the court into a show venue, selling tickets for the tourists to have watched this housewives testify .....live.

Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdRmrg...">Holy ghost wedding by https://www.youtube.com/user/Zhyla">Zhyla

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goodread 6 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps someone with legal knowledge can enlighten me; with respect to fraud cases how is the victim ever reimbursed if the perpetrator is sentenced to jail time?

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ayatollah 6 years, 5 months ago

you all cant be serious..what a joke the bahamas legal system is

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lazybor 6 years, 5 months ago

from now on i'll use this excuse toohttp://tinyurl.com/c7l9ck6" width="1" />

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Concerned 6 years, 5 months ago

PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NOT TRUE!!

I don't know which is worse; the lame story used to steal $80,000, the person who gave $80,000 to a complete stranger, or the legal system who let the thief walk away scott free.

Only in the Bahamas.

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bismark 6 years, 5 months ago

She should have been sent to jail,if only for three to six months,let her see what jail is all about,i personally don't agree with the sentence,i think she should have been punished for swindling that old woman,i wonder if she will get her money back..............................

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