Former acting Magistrate and practicing attorney-at-law, Raphael Baptiste has retained the services of Attorneys Dr. Francis Alexis, QC, Celia Clyne Edwards, QC and barrister-at-law, Derick Sylvester to defend him in a Sexual Assault case brought against him by a 24-year-old woman.
The 68 year-old La Fortune, St. Patrick resident was spared the embarrassment of having to appear in court in handcuffs for a bail hearing, as he posted bail in the sum of $10, 000, following his arrest by police investigators during the second week of October.
Baptiste made his first court appearance on Tuesday before Magistrate Tahira Gellineau at the St. George’s No.2 Magistrate’s Court accompanied by Attorney Sylvester, as both Queen Counsels Alexis and Edwards were absent.
Attorney Sylvester made a request for full disclosure of the incident, which allegedly occurred at the alleged sex-offender’s legal office on Gore Street, St. George’s.
Baptiste is accused of touching the complainant on different parts of her body without her consent.
The attorneys face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment if convicted of the offence.
At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Baptiste exited the court accompanied by Attorney Sylvester, who allowed him to sit in his vehicle for a short while in an effort to evade media cameras.
However, the photo journalists were able to capture Baptiste as he exited the attorney’s vehicle to enter his own vehicle which was parked directly behind that of the attorney in the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court yard.
The accused is due to reappear before the court on January 24, 2019.
When the story first broke, former President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) Ruggles Ferguson said that Baptiste does not automatically face disbarment from the profession if convicted in court of the alleged offence.
Ferguson is quoted as saying that “disbarment is the ultimate form of discipline,” apart from other measures such as suspension which can be enforced in case of a conviction.
When contacted, the current GBA President, Attorney Lisa Taylor, expressed concern about the predicament that Baptiste has found himself in.
“We are aware, we are concerned and we await the process,” she said.