‘Missing’ woman in court, denied bail

Jaesha Hendrix is one of eight people charged so far in drug conspiracy

A woman reported missing in October and found last week appeared in Summary Court on Monday, when she was remanded in custody on charges of conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Jaesha Maliya Hendrix, 22, was represented by defense attorney Prathna Bodden, who applied for bail. Hendrix’s mother and at least one other relative were in court.

Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin opposed the granting of bail. She told Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn that police had wanted to speak with Hendrix since Oct. 22 last year, when officers went with a search warrant to the George Town apartment Hendrix shared with Alexander Adrian Ebanks, 24.

As a result of what was found at the apartment, Ebanks was charged with possession of cocaine, ganja and tryptamine, all with intent to supply. Ebanks was outside the apartment when officers arrived and Hendrix was not there. Ebanks has been in custody since his arrest.

Hendrix was seen on Oct. 23 and then not again until May 26. Ms. Fargin explained that because a dog was left alone in the apartment after Ebanks’s arrest, an animal rescue officer removed it. Hendrix recovered it and took it to the home of a relative of Ebanks on Oct. 23.

She was subsequently reported missing. Despite being missing and wanted by police at the same time, it was seven months before she was found “in a bed-sit” in Bodden Town on May 26.

“She initially lied about her identity, but thankfully officers recognized her,” Ms. Fargin said. Officers also found ganja and, under a mattress, a passport with Hendrix’s name.

When interviewed, Hendrix said the ganja belonged to someone else but she was afraid to name the person. Ms. Fargin said it was clear to police that Hendrix had physical injuries.

Ms. Bodden suggested there was no evidence Hendrix was aware that she was wanted. The attorney pointed out that officers were not in uniform when they went to where Hendrix was and she did not know they were officers. She suggested that her client could be placed on 24-hour curfew at a specified address.

The magistrate replied that there had been large-scale TV, newspaper and radio coverage of the fact that police wanted to speak to her as a witness, not even as a suspect.

“She didn’t get in touch with her mother when her mother begged her to,” the magistrate pointed out, referring to her parent’s public pleas.

This fact “suggests very strongly that she knew she was wanted,” the magistrate continued. Hendrix still has community ties willing to provide her with somewhere to stay undetected. There was also concern about Hendrix’s need for protection, she noted.

Ms. Bodden could apply to Grand Court for bail if she wished, the magistrate said, but for now Hendrix was remanded in custody until June 15. On that date, a preliminary inquiry is scheduled into conspiracy charges against Hendrix, Ebanks and at least two other men.

Ebanks is charged separately in relation to each other person, with seven conspiracy charges so far.

In Hendrix’s case, she and Ebanks are charged with conspiring together between Sept. 11-23, 2015 to supply controlled drugs.

In a separate allegation, Hendrix and Ebanks are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Details are that they conspired on Sept. 11-12 to attempt to manipulate a court urine test. Ms. Fargin said the Crown’s case was that Ebanks and Hendrix had a phone conversation while she was in the U.S. and she talked with him about going to a smoke shop and getting a certain device to produce a safe drug test.

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