Judge reduces bail bond for accused baby thief
Melissa Harriot, the woman who allegedly stole a three-week-old baby at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay last month, had her bail reduced to $200,000 when she appeared before the St James Parish Court yesterday.
The 26-year-old Harriot, who is charged with child stealing, had previously been offered bail in the sum of $350,000 during her last court appearance on January 22. However, presiding judge Sandria Wong-Small decided to reduce the amount yesterday following an application from Harriot’s lawyer.
“Miss Harriot was unable to take up the bail based on the amount that was offered,” attorney-at-law Michael Hemmings told the judge. “I humbly ask if Your Honour could exercise discretion to reduce the amount to half of the J$350,000, and all other conditions which were imposed by your sister judge (Kacia Grant) on the last occasion could remain.”
Wong-Small obliged to reduce the amount and subsequently set March 27 as the next mention date for the case.
“Miss Harriot, your bail offer is now varied to $200,000 with two sureties, and everything else remains the same.”
As part of her bail conditions, Harriot is to report to the Discovery Bay Police Station in St Ann three times per week and she is forbidden to travel overseas.
She has also been asked to seek counselling and is forbidden from having any contact with babies that are not hers.
The court was told that the prosecution is awaiting CCTV footage to be added to its case file, which is expected to be completed by the next mention date.
The allegations are that on January 4, at approximately 1:50 p.m., the infant and her mother were visiting the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay when the mother was befriended by Harriot. Shortly after, the mother reportedly left the baby in Harriot’s care and went to use the restroom.
Upon the mother’s return, both Harriot and the baby were missing. A report was subsequently made to the police. Following investigations, Harriot and the child were found two days later in Norwood, St James.