by Francis Joseph
A MENTALLY ILL man who pleaded guilty to shooting at three policemen was yesterday placed on a $10,000 bond and ordered to report to a probation officer on the first day of each month for the next ten years.
Justice Lennox Deyalsingh, presiding in the Port-of-Spain Second Assize Court, told Clement Charles that if he breached that order, he (Charles) was liable to be brought back to court and face a ten-year prison term.
Charles, of Talparo, had pleaded guilty on Tuesday to shooting at police officers Nadir Khan, Clayton Andrews and John Ramdeen on June 20, 1983, near his home at Talparo.
Psychiatrist Dr hari Maharajh told the court on Tuesday that Charles had a ten-year history of mental illness and described the accused as a schizophrenic. He felt that committing the accused to an institution was not the right decision.
Justice Deyalsingh said the court had no evidence that the accused could be cured. The judge said Charles may have to be on medication for the rest of his life.
He said there is an increase in the number of mentally ill people because “more and more people cannot cope with the society.”
He continued: “This is something which the government would have to deal with in the future. But for now, the courts would have to deal with it.”
Justice Deyalsingh described Charles as a mental case and said that attorneys for both the prosecution and the defence were against him being jailed. He pleaded with Charles to continue with his medical treatment.
Before sentence was passed, the court heard from Charles’ mother, Yvonne Charles.
She told the court that her son became mentally disturbed when his father died in 1983.
She said she normally accompanied her son to the clinic for treatment and that she was very close to him.
The mother of six added that her son was unemployed but assists a neighbor in his garden.
Justice Deyalsingh sought the assistance of State attorney Ingrid White-Wilson on the issue of sentencing.
Attorneys Martin George and Adrian Darmanie represented the accused.