Lawyer Protest In Ministers' Child Cruelty Case


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE lawyer representing two ministers accused of cruelty to a 15-year-old boy did not take kindly to being served with the evidence in the case on the day the trial was to start.

Romona Farquharson-Seymour expressed her displeasure to Magistrates Andrew Forbes yesterday of the Crown’s late service of witness statements, records of interviews and other documents necessary to the defence of her clients, People’s Assembly Word Centre ministers Arsenio Butler, 27, and Devin Sears, 25.

Crown prosecutor Edmond Turner, in his defence, replied that he had only received the case file a week ago and had been mistaken as to who was representing the defendants, hence the late service of the documents.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour asked the court for an adjournment in the circumstances.

Magistrate Forbes acknowledged the submissions made by both sides and suggested to the defence counsel that someone with 11 years experience should be able to proceed in a short period of time.

However, he would stand the matter down to 2pm Tuesday (today) for a report on whether or not she would be in a position to proceed, notwithstanding the documents being served late.

Together, the Ruth Street residents face a charge of cruelty to children, alleged to have been committed between January 31 and February 1. It is claimed that they gave a teenage boy alcohol “in a manner likely to cause injury to his health”.

Butler, a pastor-elect, was separately charged with indecent assault. It is alleged that he put his hand down the teenager’s trousers.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges and have retained Romona Farquharson-Seymour to defend them.

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