Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Judge slams police, others in handling of execution warrant on woman who abandoned trial

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 3:49 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece today slammed the police and others within the judicial process over the handling of an arrest warrant she ordered for a Jamaican woman who boarded a plane and left the island midway her fraud trial last year.

Wolfe Reece did not detail her concerns, but said "people are not following instructions with regard to a warrant being issued".

"I'm in sheer shock – not only with the security forces – at how this was being dealt with," she said in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court in reference the arrest warrant she ordered for Winsome McFarlane last November.

McFarlane and another woman went on trial in 2013 for allegedly defrauding the National Health Fund approximately $600,000.

She is facing charges of forgery, uttering forged documents, obtaining money by false pretence and conspiracy to defraud.

The other woman has been freed.

The much-delayed trial took a bizarre turn last November when McFarlane failed to return to the prisoner dock after a short recess.

Checks by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency revealed that she left the island on a flight bound for Florida in the United States.

McFarlane turned up at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court this morning and sat in the benches despite the fact that the police had an arrest warrant for her.

The dreadlocked woman was later taken from the courtroom to a holding area where the warrant was executed.

She was handcuffed and later brought back to the courtroom.

Wolfe Reece expressed disappointment at how the warrant was executed before making a cryptic comment.

"It seemed like all the ducks were properly lined up this morning," she said.