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Accused baby snatcher gets new court date

Published:Thursday | June 13, 2019 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


The much-anticipated committal hearing for Melissa Harriott, the St James woman who reportedly stole a baby from its mother at the Cornwall Regional Hospital earlier this year, did not take place as was expected Tuesday as the matter was rescheduled when she showed up in the St James Parish Court.

Tuesday was the first scheduled committal hearing for Harriott, who is charged with child stealing. The hearing would have determined whether the case would be transferred to the St James Circuit Court for trial.

Attorney-at-law Michael Hemmings, who is representing Harriott, informed The Gleaner that he was unaware of the schedule, which was seemingly decided on without his input.

“It will be a June 26 date for the committal hearing. She is on bail, and her bail’s been extended,” said Hemmings, noting that Harriott’s bail offer had been reduced from J$350,000 to J$200,000.

According to the allegations against her, 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 Harriott, whom she met at the hospital.

Shortly afterwards, the mother reportedly left the baby in Harriott’s care and went to use the restroom. Upon the mother’s return, both Harriott and the baby were missing.

Under Section 69 of the Offences Against the Person Act, Harriott could face a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment if convicted.