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Public calls for State to show leniency
Several onlookers yesterday called on the State to have a heart and discontinue the prosecution of grandfather Winston Cudjoe, after he appeared in the Siparia Magistrates Court charged with unlawfully killing his 17-month-old grandson Jaedon. As Cudjoe was leaving the court, accompanied by Jaedon’s parents and other relatives, onlookers along the road opined that he should not have been charged. They also turned on the media, calling on them to leave Cudjoe alone and not take photos of him.
Jaedon died in the back seat of Cudjoe’s car after he forgot the sleeping baby for nine hours in the locked car last Tuesday and went to work at Petrotrin, Penal. Cudjoe was charged with manslaughter on Friday on the instructions of the deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. He was released after he was granted $200,000 bail at the Siparia Police Station and attended the baby’s funeral on Saturday at the St Dominic’s RC Church, Penal. Cudjoe, 56, who has been emotional since the tragedy, was composed when Senior Magistrate Jo-Anne Connor read the charge that he unlawfully killed Jaedon at Petrotrin’s car park, Penal, on May 13. He was not called upon to plead to the charge since it is indictable.
Cudjoe’s son Fergus and daughter-in-law Masika Wharwood, the parents of baby Jaedon, as well as other relatives, were in court. His attorney Colin Selvon said Cudjoe’s brother had taken his bail at the station. He asked for disclosure, particularly a cautionary statement from Cudjoe and station diary extracts. The prosecutor, acting Sgt Sheldon Ablacksingh, said the file was at the office of the DPP. He said a state attorney would have to be appointed to prosecute and could not say how soon that would be done. The matter was adjourned to June 16.
As he was leaving, onlookers expressed their support for Cudjoe. Others were curious because of a report aired on the radio and spread via Facebook that Cudjoe had killed himself. Sources at the Siparia Police Station said even a deputy commissioner of police had called the station to find out whether the reports were true.