Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Pathways murder accused to be assigned senior lawyer

Published:Thursday | October 28, 2021 | 3:35 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

The hushed tone in which Andre Ruddock spoke was in stark contrast to the buzz surrounding the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries facing murder charges as he appeared in the Home Circuit Court yesterday.

Ruddock is before the courts in relation to the deadly ritual that unfolded at the Montego Bay-based church last week.

Dressed in a pair of blue shorts, a white T-shirt, and big brown boots yesterday, Ruddock’s presence set tongues wagging as curious onlookers jostled for positions to stare at him through a glass pane in the courtroom door.

Inside the courtroom, Rudduck glanced around at regular intervals with a demeanour seemingly questioning his own presence before Supreme Court judge Vinette Graham-Allen.

His words were few after indicating that he did not have an attorney.

“Can you afford a lawyer?” the judge asked.

When Rudduck replied in the negative, she further questioned: “Do you wish the court to get a lawyer for you, Sir?”

“Yes, I do,” he replied.

Venice Brown, an attorney of nine years, offered her service and was accepted by the court to work alongside whichever senior counsel is appointed by the State in Ruddock’s defence.

Lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn preferred a voluntary bill of indictment to the court for the offence of murder. However, because the accused was without a senior attorney, the learned judge told the court that the matter could go no further.

“Normally I would not [enter into allegations] when the accused does not yet have counsel. I am always very careful to ensure that the accused person has counsel before we go any further ... not depart, from ensuring that the accused is protected, that counsel is assigned,” Graham-Allen told Llewellyn, who is also the director of public prosecutions (DPP).

The DPP accepted the position.

“Given the nature of the matter and the fact that it has been in the public domain, in a way, that I believe, in terms of transparency, the Crown would need to demonstrate why it was that a voluntary bill of indictment [was made],” the DPP told the court while asking that the process to assign Ruddock an attorney be expedited.

The voluntary bill was served on Brown and a copy provided to the court.

A fingerprint order was made against Ruddock.

Reports are that on October 17, Rudduck used a knife to slash the throat of 39-year-old Taneka Gardner after another congregant refused to carry out Pastor Kevin O. Smith’s instructions.

Smith and police Constable Orlando Irons died in a car accident on Monday in Linstead, St Catherine, as they were heading to Kingston from St James to formally charge Smith with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent, and one count of illegal possession of a firearm. Two other cops were injured in the crash.

Prosecutable proceedings are to continue against Ruddock on November 3, when he is expected to be fully represented.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com