DPP to decide
Mute murder accused awaits prosecution’s call
Reginald Rodney Padmore, 47, first went to the Assizes back in 2002, when he was found guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility. He was at that time ordered to be detained at the Psychiatric Hospital until Her Majesty’s Pleasure, after he was determined to be unfit to plead.
Padmore’s current case relates to the November 1, 2012 murder of Ernest DaCosta Edwards, who was an inmate at the hospital.
On several occasions when the accused has attended the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court, Magistrate Douglas Frederick expressed the view that it made little sense for resources to be used to continually bring him to court, since he never responds to any type of questioning whatsoever.
Today, attorney-at-law Andrew Willoughby said he visited the accused at the Psychiatric Hospital.
“Were you able to take instructions from him?” Magistrate Frederick asked.
“We tried, but no,” the lawyer explained. He added, though, that he had had a conversation with Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Beresford Connell, who was there to give an update on Padmore.
Dr Connell informed the court that Padmore has suffered from elected mutism for the past 13 years. He added that the accused communicates mainly by hand gestures, is still unfit to plead and it is unlikely that he would be able to instruct his attorney or communicate with the officers of the court.
Padmore’s “treatment regimes have not been able to get him to verbalize,” Connell continued.
The doctor also could not give a date as to the duration of the mutism but advised that Padmore should continue getting psychiatric care.
That being the case, Magistrate Frederick determined that he would forward the information from the hospital to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who could make the prosecutorial decision as to whether Padmore’s case would go directly to the High Court, thereby eliminating the preliminary hearing.
The witness also asked the magistrate whether Padmore could be remanded for the maximum period, as well as order that the accused’s “escort to court” not be of such “full force” since he believed that it traumatizes the patient.
As usual, the accused was escorted inside the court by two male nurses, while two armed police officers remained outside along with the driver of each vehicle.
With regard to that, Frederick suggested that the doctor and the prosecution make recommendation to the hierarchy of the Police Force since the security of the court was beyond his domain. “I wouldn’t know the level of security that he might need,” he responded.
Frederick also agreed with the doctor that he could apply for an extension under the Mental Health Act, which gives the hospital the power to extend Padmore’s remand up to 56 days.