Badly beaten woman says can’t remember what happened to her

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teenaged girl found hanging  Attacker-commits-suicide

One week after she was said to have been battered by a man close to her to the point that a tooth was knocked out and her skull fractured, a woman in her early 30’s says that she cannot recall what happened to her.

The woman, Hemwattie Louchand also known as ‘Lisa’, was a pitiful sight as she lay in a ward at the Georgetown Public Hospital yesterday with her face black and blue and a front tooth missing. When asked about her injuries she said, “I not lying I can’t remember what happen, I don’t mean to give you a hard time, I can’t remember”.

Friends contacted the police and they arrived at the home where the beating occurred and found the battered woman in an unconscious state and took her to the hospital but not before they had arrested the man and taken him to the Providence Police Station.

Since then the woman was reportedly slipping in and out of consciousness. And while she was in this state her alleged abuser was released the day after he was arrested and placed on $20,000 bail. He then made visits to her at the hospital and another report was made to the police and he was rearrested but soon released again.

Since then he has been visiting the institution in the mornings.

As Stabroek News was at the woman’s bedside a female police officer approached with the aim of taking a statement from her but she stated that she could not recall what had happened and so there was nothing she could tell the officer.

It has been argued that this is the situation that police officers around the country are facing even as the public lambastes them for not taking reports of domestic violence seriously.


Tantamount

However, Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand had another take on the issue when she was contacted by this newspaper yesterday. The minister, who has been approached by concerned relatives and friends of the woman, pointed out that had the police kept the suspect in custody following the attack he would not have been able to approach the victim while she was in hospital. She feels that whatever the man may have told the victim during his visits caused the woman to state she could not recall what had happened to her.

The minister pointed out that the woman suffered some serious injuries, including a fractured skull and she feels that the attack was tantamount to attempted murder. She noted that just as in an accident the police may hold a driver of a vehicle until they are sure the person was going to live they could have done the same thing in this instance.

There have been many cases where the police would arrest someone based on eyewitness evidence and even charge the person without a statement from the injured person and later apply to the magistrate for bail to be refused until they were certain that the injured person would live. The minister said that the same approach could have been applied in this case as the woman was slipping in and out of consciousness and so  the man should have been held or charged. “He probably went to her and apologised and now she cannot remember what has happened,” the minister told Stabroek News.

Manickchand said she is “horrified” at the extent of the woman’s injuries while adding that it is even more “horrifying” that the police released the man on $20,000 bail.  She noted that the fact that the woman now doesn’t want to talk could also be as a result of a lack of confidence in the system, adding that all agencies, not only her ministry, need to come together and work on the issue of domestic violence.

She said she understands the problem the lawmen and women face especially in cases where the women don’t want the matter to go before the court but at least in this instance the police should have kept the man in custody to prevent him from approaching the woman.

Stabroek News understands that while there may have been witnesses to the attack the police would still need a statement from the woman to proceed with the matter.

The man, according to reports, “lift up the woman and lash her down about two times” after he had  pummelled her face with his fist and then he left her lying on the ground bleeding in an unconscious state. She has been abused constantly but it is not clear if she has ever made a report to the police.