Judge Skips Holiday To Ensure Human Trafficking Trial Proceeds


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE chief magistrate yesterday expressed her desire to "expeditiously" conclude the trial of a Jamaican woman facing allegations of human trafficking after it was delayed for a month because of the malfunctioning air-conditioning system at the Magistrate's Court complex.

Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, presiding over day one of 20-year-old Abigail Wilson's trial, told the court that although she was scheduled to be on vacation, she cleared her calendar specifically to adjudicate Wilson's matter primarily because of the national and international significance it holds.

Wilson had previously appeared before the chief magistrate in July for what was expected to be the start of her case on four counts of trafficking in persons allegedly committed between March and May of this year. The charges were brought under Section 3(1)(a) of the Trafficking in Persons Prevention and Suppression Act Chapter 106.

It is alleged that Wilson recruited, received, harboured and transported a woman to and within the Bahamas for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Wilson pleaded not guilty to all of the allegations when they were read by Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt yesterday.

Wilson was expected to stand trial on July 12 and 13. However, the case was adjourned by 24 hours because the court complex had to be closed at 1pm due to a malfunctioning air-conditioning unit. The chief magistrate later explained to Wilson that the matter would have to be adjourned to August 15, 16 and 17.

Yesterday's proceedings saw testimonies from two police officers, Detective Corporal Nathaniel Farrington of the Central Detective Unit's (CDU) Selective Enforcement team, who was present at Wilson's initial arrest, as well as Detective Sergeant James Colebrooke, a crime scene investigator.

The trial continues today at 11am.

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