Trinidad: Woman, 80, freed of abandoning baby

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Trinidad: Woman, 80, freed of abandoning baby
Hazra Ali, 80, right, leaves the San Fernando Magistrates Court with her niece Eleanor Ali yesterday. PICTURE RISHI RAGOONATH
Hazra Ali, 80, right, leaves the San Fernando Magistrates Court with her niece Eleanor Ali yesterday. PICTURE RISHI RAGOONATH

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – An 80-year-old grandmother was yesterday arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court 15 years ago on a child abandonment charge.

A frail-looking Hazra Ali appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates Court hours later.

Prosecutor Veano Ragoo told Second Court Magistrate Alicia Chankar it was an old matter in which she had missed a court date. She was charged 18 years ago for allegedly dumping her daughter’s new-born baby on a river bank not far from their Cippy Street, Gasparillo home.

However, Ali missed her court date in 2003 and a warrant had been issued for her arrest. Attorney Aleena Ramjag offered to represent the woman free of charge and asked to make a bail application. The charging officer, Insp Matthew Noel, retired from the service years ago, the prosecutor said.

After perusing the court documents, the magistrate dismissed the matter.
Wiping away tears Hazra’s niece, Eleanor Ali said this came as a surprise to everyone.

She said took Hazra and her two daughters Agatha, 46, and Angela, 49, to live with her about five years ago.

“I take care of them. I was really frighten for my aunt,” said Ali. She said no one knew the matter was still going on.

“No one knew about this warrant. My aunt was not hiding. So it was so shocking when the police came yesterday evening and say they have a warrant for my aunt. They told me to bring her to the station today (yesterday). When they arrived at the San Fernando Police Station, Ali said they read the warrant to them and she handed over her aunt to them.”

Ali said neither her aunt nor the baby’s mother Agatha, has seen or heard anything about the baby since the incident. She said Agatha had inquired about her baby and she was told that someone “signed and took” the baby from the hospital.

Ali said they want the child to know her mother and her family. She said Agatha never had any other children.

WHAT HAPPENED TENDER

In August 2000, the one-day-old baby was left wrapped in an old curtain on the river bank. The baby was found by a man who went to tend to his goats. The baby was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where she was placed in an incubator. Her mother Agatha, then 27, was also hospitalised and treated for excessive bleeding. Agatha’s mother was charged. The baby’s father, according to a previous media report, was a 66-year-old man who wanted nothing to do with the baby. Agatha had said that she had been in tremendous stress since learning of her pregnancy. Following the incident, several people had shown interest in adopting the baby.

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