Wednesday 21 October 2020
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Homeless woman in wheelchair remanded in custody

Homeless woman in wheelchair remanded in custody

Monday 05 October 2020

Homeless woman in wheelchair remanded in custody


A woman in a wheelchair, who has been living on the streets since she arrived in the island in July, has been remanded in custody after being charged with three offences.

Sonia Evelyn (53) appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Friday, accused of causing a public nuisance by leaving soiled nappies and excrements in public places between 9 and 24 September; refusing to leave the Premier Inn at Charing Cross when asked to do so on 30 September; and using the hotel’s electricity without permission on the same day.

Unwilling or unable to enter a plea when asked, Ms Evelyn, who is also known as Sonia Selwig, was remanded in custody until 16 October, in order for a lawyer and agencies to engage with her.

In a short hearing in the Magistrate’s Court, Ms Evelyn refused to confirm her name and address to Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris.

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Pictured: Ms Evelyn appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Advocate Christopher Austin, defending, who had taken on the case that day, told the Court that Ms Evelyn had said that she suffers from learning disabilities and suggested that she would be happy to work with an educational psychologist to assess her mental capacity.

He added that Ms Evelyn had said she suffered from diabetes and needed her medication from Police Headquarters, where she had been before her court appearance.

However, Crown Advocate Chris Baglin, for the prosecution, said she had no diabetes medication in her possession, nor was there any indication that she had it in her medical records.

Advocate Austin said that he was “professionally concerned” about entering pleas on behalf of Ms Evelyn without more information about her circumstances.

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Pictured: Advocate Christopher Austin.

Providing some background, Probation Officer Natalie Austin told the Court that she was a member of a multidisciplinary safeguarding team that met weekly, and Ms Evelyn’s welfare had been discussed at length since her arrival in Jersey.

“There is widespread public concern about her safety,” she said. “Adult Social Services and Adult Mental Health Services have both reached out to her, even though she is not entitled as a non-resident. However, she has chosen to disengage or been unwilling to accept advice.”

Through the hearing, Ms Evelyn, who sat in her wheelchair with a face mask over her eyes, repeatedly said that the courtroom lights were too bright, she had diabetes, she was blacking out, she could not read and write, and she did not want to be there.

She also claimed that she had accommodation in Jersey but was unable to say where it was.

“I have an address. My family has a lot of money; I am rich,” she said. 

In remanding her in custody, Mr Harris said: “As an inevitable result of Ms Evelyn not fully engaging with me, we will have to put the matter off to another occasion.

“I think she needs to be in a safe environment to receive medical treatment in a controlled fashion. In custody, she will also be unable to commit further offences.” 

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