Committal hearing for suspected arsonist adjourned

Shukur Hodge (File photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

[email protected]

There will be a further three-month wait before the man accused of setting the Bon Appetit restaurant in Falmouth on fire on May 1 will find out if there is sufficient evidence against him.

Shukur Hodge, 21, appeared before Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edwards yesterday for his committal hearing, but it was put off until November 16.

The prosecution requested that the matter be adjourned since the file is still incomplete.

Hodge’s lawyer, Wendel Robinson, did not object to the adjournment.

He, however, made an application for some of his client’s bail conditions to be altered, namely the 7pm curfew, the order for him to not venture past Roman Hill, near Liberta, and the condition that he report to a nearby police station every day.

Robinson referred to the seven-day sign-in condition as “particularly onerous” and indicated that the accused’s stepfather has offered him a job at his auto repair shop in Falmouth and so he will not only have to journey to the village where the incident occurred, but he may also return home there at a later time.

The magistrate, having heard the application, adjusted the reporting condition so that Hodge will only have to sign in at a police station three days a week.

She reminded the lawyer that Hodge’s bail is without a cash component and hence the reason for many other restrictions.

The defendant’s bail, which was originally granted at his first court appearance in early May, is set at $100,000, none of which had to be paid in cash.

In addition to the aforementioned conditions, he was also ordered to surrender his travel documents, and provide two Antiguan sureties.

The defendant was further warned not to interfere with the other possible defendant and any potential witnesses.

The restaurant building, which was completely destroyed in the blaze, is said to be worth $892,000 while its contents were valued at $395,000.

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