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One prostitution trial to determine the case against 69 other women

...women charged with on March 8 2013, they solicited passersby for the purpose of prostitution while at Classic Seamen Hotel and Bar at Vistabella

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

THE OUTCOME of the trial against a woman charged with prostitution may decide the fate of 69 other women facing the same charge.
The women, who reappeared in court last Friday, were asked to have patience, after they complained about the charge laid a year ago.

The women appeared before the San Fernando Sixth Court charged with on March 8 2013, they solicited passersby for the purpose of prostitution while at Classic Seamen Hotel and Bar at Vistabella.
Seventy-five women from Colombia, Guyana and the Dominican Republic were charged by the police under Section 46 (J) of the Summary Offences Act.

The maximum sentence for this offence is two months in prison.
Some of the matters have been discharged but Magistrate Lisa Ramsumair Hinds told the group that the trial presently before the Fourth Court was the first in which the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was involved.

State attorney Chris Ramlal said that the prosecution was awaiting the outcome of that part-heard matter to decide how to proceed with the 69 cases called yesterday.

Ramlal said that in the on going trial, the DPP had two more witnesses to give evidence, and the matter was expected to end in March.

Ramsumair-Hinds explained, "The trial going on is a test case that is likely to impact on what the State does in the other matters. To do 69 trials, it takes several years. You have to be patient ... What the State is doing is the responsible thing."

"I need to go back (home). It has been a whole year," one of the women said. Ramsumair-Hinds ordered the women to return to court on April 30. Warrants were executed for three of the defendants who failed to appear in court Friday.

A letter was received from another of the women who said that she was in Santo Domingo where she had to undergo surgery.
The letter which was written in Spanish was read by interpreter Luz Marina Tapias De Copilah who translated throughout the proceedings.

The magistrate also made note that one of the defendants, a pregnant women, had to be taken to hospital by ambulance before the matter was called.
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