591 days behind bars - Woman accused of being a gangster freed
After 591 days behind bars and accusations of being a gangster, Tashina Baker is now a relieved woman. The 23-year-old was on Tuesday freed by Chief Justice Brian Sykes, the presiding judge in the so-called Uchence Gang trial.
Baker, a resident of Spanish Town, was among 24 persons arrested and charged under the Anti-gang Act. Six persons have so far been released because of a lack of evidence.
Baker said that she had no doubt she would have been set free once the evidence was placed before the court. However, she lamented the fact that the security forces sought to lock her away for years without a shred of evidence against her.
"I was wondering when would this end. When would I actually be out there living the normal life?," she said.
Baker recalled being at her workplace in New Kingston when police barged in and arrested her. At the time she was not sure what was taking place, and she soon found herself behind bars for something she claims she knew nothing about.
She later found out that she was arrested for being part of the Uchence Gang. The police labelled her as the girlfriend of the alleged deputy leader of the said gang, Fitzroy Scott.
Baker told THE WEEKEND STAR that she did not have a reason to be part of a gang, as she was in a good job.
"I was in my job working my hard-earned money. There is no reason for me to want to be involved in any gang or providing or receiving any benefit from any gang. I've always been putting God first, and I'm still putting Him first through all of this, but it is going to be a journey," she said.
When Baker first appeared in court she believed that she would be sent home, but to her surprise that did not happen. She recalled going to court many times before being freed.
"The first time I went to court, it was with the two other females, and I thought that it would have been just the three of us. I was surprised when I saw other people," she said.
"On the last day, when I heard I was going home, it was a relief. It was a good feeling. It felt as if I got a second chance at life."
GETTING A DECENT JOB
Since her release, Baker said that she has taken the time to think about her future. She is also hoping that the sordid ordeal does not prevent her from getting a decent job.
Baker also said that the State needs to ensure that there is enough evidence before putting people behind bars.
"Even if it is a case where they are arrested, if a bail application is being put in place for that person, give the bail," she said.
Baker also said that she is standing by boyfriend of three years and the other persons who are currently on trial because she believes they are innocent.
"I don't think that anyone is guilty. The witness is the only person that can speak the truth or probably the persons who are on trial. I really don't believe what that witness said. I am basically standing by everybody's side because they don't deserve this, so it is not only about him (Scott)," she said.