Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
THE LONE remaining defendant in the much-publicised Mount Alvernia Preparatory School kidnapping case has had her trial deferred until December 4 when she will again appear in the St James Circuit Court.
When 26-year-old Jenise Regisford, a counsellor of Cornwall Courts, Montego Bay, and Bloomfield, Connecticut, USA, appeared in court on Monday, her trial did not get off the ground as was expected. In fact, the case will now be tried as part of a 'remnant sitting' - a special sitting where matters not dealt with during the main schedule of the Michaelmas session are dealt with.
Regisford was initially charged with kidnapping along with 23-year-old cabinetmaker Jonathan 'Clevaugn' Mitchell of Spaldings, Manchester; 22-year-old barber Trevon Tomlinson of Cornwall Courts, Montego Bay; and a 17-year-old minor of Paradise, in Montego Bay, in connection with the abduction of a 3-year-old child from the Mount Alvernia Preparatory School on May 3, 2011.
However, while the other three defendants pleaded guilty to child-stealing when they appeared in court on September 24, Regisford declared that she was innocent of the charges and, as a consequence, she will face trial. The other three persons are slated for sentencing on October 17.
When Regisford appeared in court, lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor asked that the defendant be given a new trial date before another judge, on the grounds that presiding High Court magistrate, Martin Gayle, is to conduct sentencing on Mitchell, Tomlinson and the minor.
Sense of fairness
"Having considered the matter, the three co-defendants that have pleaded guilty have not yet been sentenced. Out of an abundance of caution, and so that a sense of fairness may be seen, I would ask that the matter be set for the next sitting," said Taylor.
"Ms Regisford... the 4th December for your trial," Judge Gayle informed the defendant, after conferring with the prosecutor for a potential date.
At the end of the court proceedings, defence lawyer Martyn Thomas, who is representing Regisford, said he agreed with the prosecution's stance, citing the need for impartiality in dealing with his client's trial and the sentencing of her former co-accused.