By: Sascha Wilson
The judiciary worker who made a false report that a taxi driver raped her yesterday walked away with a slap on the wrist after the victim begged a Princes Town magistrate to give her chance.
After Deonath Ramsubhag, 51, urged the court not to impose a fine, send the accused to jail or do anything which would result in her losing her job, Second Court Magistrate Nalini Singh ordered Wendy Isahark, 45, to serve 250 hours of community service.
However, the magistrate felt an appropriate sentence for the crime would have been six months jail.
She said, “What you have done is grave and malicious. I think to fabricate a rape case against a man is one of the most horrendous things you could do as a woman. All he has at the end of the day is his word.”
Isahark, a telephone operator at the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court, had pleaded not guilty to the wasteful employment of police time at her first court appearance last Thursday. She was granted $10,000 own bail. However, when she reappeared before the magistrate yesterday she asked for a maximum sentence indication. The magistrate requested Ramsubhag’s presence to solicit his views on the matter and stood down the case.
Addressing the court when the matter resumed, Ramsubhag said the allegation was not true. However, he declared, “I forgive this lady for this. Don’t send her to jail. Please, please don’t do that.”
Although he spent the night in jail and fellow taxi drivers were warning people not to travel with him, he said, “I forgive her. It’s just my reputation get damage. The taxi men telling me all kind of thing.”
When the magistrate told him the sentence carries a six-month term in prison, he said, “No, no, please don’t do that.”
Isahark’s attorney Petronilla Basdeo interjected, saying, “I think it is a matter of the heart.”
The victim was also against community service until the magistrate explained to him that once she completes the community service she could return to the court to have her conviction wiped clean.
“Please, don’t let her lose her work. What will happen to her,” he begged.
Isahark subsequently pleaded guilty.
Reading the facts, prosecutor Sgt Shazeed Mohammed said around 8.30 pm, Isahark went to the Barrackpore Police Station where she alleged the accused raped her at Lothians Road, Princes Town around 3 pm. Cpl Nanan conducted inquires, Ramsubhag was arrested, Isahark was medically examined and statements were recorded from both parties. When Cpl Nanan told her the following morning that his information was that she was not telling the truth, she said, “Officer, I never got raped. I lie.”
Asking the magistrate for leniency yesterday, Basdeo said her client’s statement was not entirely lies. Employed at the court for the past 12 years, Basdeo said Isahark endured harassment and unwanted advances prior to her making the report.
“It was only done to get rid of the harassment,” said Basdeo, who further submitted that Isahark was the sole provider for her eight-year-old child.
She said the accused who pleaded guilty, was a first time offender and wished to apologise to the police. When the magistrate noted the apology should be directed to Ramsubhag, Isahark turned to him, saying, “I am sorry.”
He replied, “Accepted.”
Giving reasons for her sentence, the magistrate considered, among other things, how Ramsubhag begged the court on her behalf. She, however, said Isahark’s lies would have cost the police service eight hours of manpower, the state incurred expenses, wasted already-scarce police resources and cost Ramsubhag his freedom and reputation. However, she said the most troubling thing was that “your action diminishes the public’s view on real rape victims. What is the public supposed to think now?”
The magistrate ordered her to report to the Probation Officers department to be assigned her tasks, complete her community service within a year and return to court on September 21.
Speaking afterwards, Ramsubhag said he knew Isahark because she had travelled with him a few times. Asked why he forgave her, he said, “I know what it is to get lock up. I did not want to put her through that. I wasn’t worried. I know I did not do nothing.”
Ramsubhag then walked across to the road where his car was parked to give his wife, who was with their young child, the good news.