59-year-old Elbert Edwards of Marigot who resided in Woodford Hill, has been formally charged for the January 7, 2021, murder of his common-law partner, 86-year-old Bernadette Nicholas of Grandbay, who resided at Woodford Hill.
According to a police report, on the night aforementioned, about 8:15 p.m., Nicholas was found lying in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds to her body at the couple’s place of residence.
At the court hearing today, attorney for the accused, Tiyani Behanzin, pleaded with the court to defer the reading of the charge as he requested a hospital order for his client.
According to the former magistrate, Edwards had a long history of mental health issues and on the day of the alleged incidents, he was suffering from a withdrawal.
However, Police Prosecutor Inspector Davidson Cadette raised some reservation over the application due to the fact that, “the attorney did not present an authentic document to the court,” over Edwards’ said illness.
Following arguments from both parties, presiding Magistrate Michael Laudat stated that before any order can be made, the court must be satisfied that there is enough capacity at the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) to house the accused.
He further informed Behanzin that the deferment of a plea on indictable matters cannot be granted at the Magistrate Court as the accused is not required to answer to the charge at that stage, only at the High Court.
The charge was read to Edwards and the matter was adjourned to January 18, 2021, as Magistrate Laudat issued a summon for the Superintendent of the Dominica Prisons Services, Kenrick Jean Jacques to determine if the accused can receive treatment at the prison and the Consultant Psychiatrist at the APU, Dr Nadia Wallace as to their housing conditions.
Additionally, citing from the new Bail Act, Magistrate Laudat did not grant bail to the accused as he stated, “the court has to ensure that every decision taken must be done in the public’s interest and it is not in the public’s interest to grant bail to the accused.”
Edwards is now remanded in custody.