Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Free at last! - Mentally ill man who spent some 25 years behind bars discharged

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2020 | 12:18 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Mentally challenged farmer of St Elizabeth Abraham Lawrence (left) and his brother, Llewellyn, leave the Santa Cruz Parish Court yesterday. Abraham was freed after spending more than 25 years behind bars without being tried for alleged offences he committe
Mentally challenged farmer of St Elizabeth Abraham Lawrence (left) and his brother, Llewellyn, leave the Santa Cruz Parish Court yesterday. Abraham was freed after spending more than 25 years behind bars without being tried for alleged offences he committed.

Forty-nine-year-old Abraham Lawrence, the mentally challenged man who has been in lock-up at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre, for more than 25 years, was set free yesterday when he appeared before the Santa Cruz Parish Court in St Elizabeth.

Before declaring that Lawrence was free to go, presiding judge Ann-Marie Grainger told the court that she has now received a psychiatric evaluation report on Lawrence as well as a report from the probation officer who went to the home of Lawrence’s brother and made an assessment of his living conditions.

His brothers Silvan and Llewellyn Lawrence were overjoyed that he had been finally released. They told The Gleaner that their brother’s release meant that the family could start their lives all over again.

Abraham made his first appearance in the Black River Parish Court last Friday, where he was granted bail in the sum of $10,000, and released into the custody of his elder brothers.

His brother Silvan Lawrence was almost in tears following Abraham’s freedom. He sought to correct claims that his brother was in lock-up since 1999, saying he had been taken away from his family since 1994.

“Mi just wish wi mother and father were alive fi see him come home back today (yesterday), mi mother always talk about him an wish him wudda come home one day,” Silvan said.

Abraham was arrested in 1994 after he reportedly smashed the side glass of a police service vehicle during a dispute with men in his community.

The mentally ill man was held at the St Catherine Adult Correctional facility over the years and got lost in the system.