Daffy Rodriquez, a fifty-seven year old woman of Soubise St Andrew, arrested and charged with arson appeared before the Grenville Magistrate court last Monday and was granted bail in the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars with two sureties and a number of conditions.
Rodriquez is charged with intentionally and unlawfully setting ablaze to a wooden shop owned and operated by one Nessie Courtney of the same address.
Although the charge was read to her during her court appearance she was not allowed to plead, as the matter is indictable.
The attorney for the accused in requesting bail for his client indicated that she had no previous convictions; this was her first offense in fifty-seven years, he told the court and his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. “As a matter of fact she doesn’t have a passport so there is no flight risk. This is a fifty-seven year old woman who is a farmer; she owns and operates her own farm and her husband is deceased the attorney told the court.
The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that it was a serious offense, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, there is a likelihood of the accused interfering with the witness and there are also ongoing investigations into two other arson cases in the district of Soubise. He added that fires set by unknown persons were becoming prevalent in that area. When Rodriquez was taken into the prisoner’s dock in the absence of her attorney and heard the prosecutor objecting to bail, she asked the court “are you not going to consider bail for me, I didn’t burn any building but my son burned the building and he did it on his own.” She continued by saying that the property was hers where the building was located and the complainant, who owed her $800.00 in rent, had been told to leave the property.
As part of the bail conditions set by the court Rodriquez will report to the Grenville Police Station once a week between 9am and 4pm, she would surrender all her travel documents, which include identification card, she should avoid all contact with the witness and she should refrain from going to within two hundred feet of the cordoned off area on the property where the building was set ablaze.
Meanwhile the virtual complainant, who was also present in court during the accused’s first appearance, said that she had over $10,000.00 worth of items in the shop, which was destroyed in the flames. This she said was bought with money she obtained through a loan she had taken to restock the business, which she has been operating for the past ten years.
This is not the first time she has run into problems with the accused she said, who she has been paying a rent to for the property where the shop was located. Sometime ago the door to the shop was removed and some of her items taken from the shop and thrown away. The matter was reported to the police, but nothing came of it she said. In the wee hours of that fateful morning when the building was set on fire, two persons were seen running from the scene, however a slipper was also discovered close to the building, while one of the persons later detained by police for questioning into the incident had sustained burns to her right hand.