Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Grandma caught in custody battle spends night in jail

Published:Friday | March 26, 2021 | 12:23 AMLivern Barrett - Senior Staff Reporter

A grandmother caught in the middle of an international child custody battle was briefly jailed this week for failing to comply with a court order.

Daisy Elizabeth Raymond, 64, a retired teacher, was arrested at her home in Portland about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and taken to the Buff Bay Police Station, a family member confirmed.

Raymond was transferred to the Castleton Police Station in St Mary, where she was held overnight and released on Thursday after her incarceration was temporarily halted by the Court of Appeal as it considers an emergency application by her attorney, Cecile Black.

“Her children and grandchildren are really not in a position right now to talk about this … . We are distraught, you know,” the family member disclosed.

Raymond, a mother of three adult children, was sentenced on December 2 last year to nine months in prison for contempt of court after she failed, over a two-year period, to return her then six-year-old grandson to his father in Jamaica.

The sentence was suspended for three months.

But a High Court judge gave the go-ahead last Thursday for it to be enforced.

In August 2018, she took the six-year-old to her daughter and the boy’s biological mother, Lacy-Ann Raymond, in the United States, under an agreement that she would return him to his father the following month, according to court documents obtained by The Gleaner.

But she returned to the island without the child.

As a result, the boy’s father, Desmond McKenzie, went to court and got an order in December 2019 compelling Raymond to return his now nine-year-old son to him.

McKenzie was not happy with Raymond’s release from jail, even as he insisted that from the outset, that was never his intention.

“My intention is to get my son back, and she is not complying [with the court order]. Of course, it does bother me,” he told The Gleaner yesterday.

“She up in age and she is a retired person, but that don’t mean say that the law doesn’t apply to everybody just the same. That don’t mean say nobody must get no favour because of their age and them gender,” he added.

Raymond, through her attorney, is seeking more time to challenge the nine-month prison sentence imposed by Justice Courtney Daye for contempt of court.

Black declined to comment on the basis for appealing the sentence.

The Court of Appeal is expected to make a ruling next week.

Raymond’s family has signalled that after the ruling, they will have more to say publicly.

Early this month, the 64-year-old retained a new attorney and filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking to have the nine-month sentence discharged.

She indicated, in an affidavit filed in support of the application, that since the first order by Justice Gloria Henry-McKenzie on November 29, 2019, she has made several unsuccessful attempts to contact her daughter.

“I do not know where the second defendant [Lacy-Ann Raymond] and/or the minor currently reside and do not know how to locate them,” she said in the affidavit filed last month that was seen by The Gleaner.

She pleaded with the presiding judge not to send her to prison.

“I will suffer severe hardship and prejudice if the order sentencing me to imprisonment is not discharged or set aside,” she said then.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com