AN APPEAL of the seven-month sentence imposed on convicted purse thief Michelle Cudjoe has been filed and an application for bail is expected to be made today.
The notice of appeal cited “severity of sentence” as the ground for the appeal.
Attorney Lisa Phillip-Singh from the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority (LAAA) signed the document and was named as the attorney acting on Cudjoe’s behalf.
Director and chairman of the LAAA board, senior counsel Israel Khan told the Express that the appeal was filed on Wednesday in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.
The magistrate who sentenced Cudjoe will be given the opportunity to list the reasons for the sentence and this, together with the typed notes from Cudjoe’s court appearance, will be forwarded to the Court of Appeal for a decision to be made.
The process is expected to take approximately six months.
Khan said an attorney from legal aid would have visited Cudjoe at Golden Grove Prison yesterday and an application for bail is expected to be done before a judge in the High Court today. If successful, Cudjoe will be reunited with her children over the weekend.
Cudjoe is the mother of three children ages six years, four years and 18 months old. They are at present in the care of a female relative.
On Monday, Senior Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes sentenced Cudjoe to the seven-month term of imprisonment.
Cudjoe had pleaded guilty to snatching a woman’s handbag as she (Cudjoe) alighted from a taxi close to her home at Friendship Village, near San Fernando last Saturday. Cudjoe had asked the magistrate for leniency and to be placed on a bond.
“At the time of the incident, I was in a desperate situation. My kids had nothing to eat. I was going to try to get some money borrowed from a friend,” she said.
Ramoo-Haynes sentenced Cudjoe to the seven months simple imprisonment.
Attorneys Saira Lakhan, Michael Rooplal, Jagdeo Singh and Petronilla Basdeo had all expressed willingness to appeal Cudjoe’s sentence, representing her for free.
Several Express readers also pledged to assist with legal fees, if there was need.
Chief executive officer of the National Commission for Self Help, Reynold Baldeosingh said the organisation, together with the business community, was willing to assist in providing a better home for Cudjoe’s children.
“As soon as she comes out we will access the living conditions. We will assess the place and then decide on the extent our intervention will be ... Business people have already indicated support for the project, so, together with the material that the Self Help Commission could contribute, we expect that we will get funding from the business community to pay for the labour,” he said.