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Parents accused of assaulting schoolteacher walks free after prosecution fails to prove case  

From left: Soyini Gardener, Kendacie Peters, and Sherwin Dalrymple (Guyana Chronicle photo)

Sherwin Dalrymple, his partner, Sohini Gardener, and a relative who were charged back in January 2020 with assaulting a teacher of the St. Agnes Primary School, were freed of the charge on Tuesday by City Magistrate Annette Singh.

 The couple was charged with assaulting teacher Tiffini Hinds. Dalrymple was further charged with provoking the teacher with the intent to annoy or insult her. A relative of the couple, Kendacie Lewis was also charged with assaulting the teacher and damaging her dress.

 The trio was represented by Attorney-at-Law Latchmie Rahamat. They were each released on cash bail pending the hearing and determination of their trial at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

 The charges against Gardener and Peters were dismissed on November 3, 2021, after the magistrate ruled that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Dalrymple, on the other hand, was called on to lead a defence on that date. And this morning, the magistrate dismissed the charges against him on the same ground. Hinds was charged with assaulting Gardener. However, the charge against her was later withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

 

Tiffini Hinds (Guyana Chronicle photo)

 

 Reports state that the incident happened in the headteacher’s office where a meeting was kept on January 15, 2020, between the parents of two students who were involved in a fight the previous day. A video of the fight went viral on social media.

 Many teachers had viewed the altercation as an attack on a teacher. As such, there was a countrywide protest by teachers calling for an end to violence in the classroom.

 Meanwhile, attorney Rahamat explained that teacher Melzina Wolfe, who was a prosecution witness, testified that Hinds was the aggressor.  In describing Wolfe as a very honest witness, the lawyer said that the teacher recalled that Hinds was the one who hit Gardener first before throwing her onto the ground from where she continued punching at her.

 Rahamat further said that Dalrymple and two other senior teachers from the school were trying to remove Hinds from on top of Gardener. According to Rahamat, while Hinds testified that Dalrymple kicked her, in her Police statement, she only stated that the man pulled her hair.