Relief & Anger - Former Messado co-accused blasts cops after being freed by the court
Beverly Barakat, the property consultant and real estate dealer who was a co-accused in one of the fraud cases against attorney-at-law Jennifer Messado, is happy she has been cleared by the court but livid at how the police went about constructing the case against her.
Barakat is now a free woman after the judge upheld a no-case submission from her lawyers, when she appeared in court on October 30.
Last week, a relieved but disappointed Barakat told The Sunday Gleaner that she believes she was not treated fairly by the police, who were unprofessional in their conduct when they executed an arrest warrant for her.
She said that the police were inefficient and treated her harshly, which was not justified, as they peddled a false narrative based on assumptions into her association with Messado.
"I feel that the police need to be more professional and not to be so hasty in executing their duty, because in my case, they acted purely on assumption and in the process could have destroyed my hard-earned reputation. It is something that has been done in the past and which needs fixing," said Barakat.
According to Barakat, she was wrongfully accused and arrested on a mere assumption, which was also the view of the judge.
"Now at least my life has not been destroyed. But it could have been, except that my reputation over the years spoke well of me and my intentions.
"It is my view that the capabilities of the police to really investigate a matter using facts and truths are missing pieces in their arsenal. I was arrested in front of my son at my home where my grandchildren were on the night of Mother's Day. It was horrible, how the police treated me," added Barakat.
She said her family had to endure a stressful period and that her name and reputation could have been shredded in the public space.
"However, because of who I am really, I was not surprised to see the who's who of Jamaica calling to register their support. It was a confidence booster and something I am grateful for, as I always maintained my innocence," stated Barakat
She said she has known Messado from her time in school and the two share a professional relationship dating back more than 25 years.
According to Barakat, she accepted the offer to sell a property on Messado's word, as up until then she had not experienced any trouble, the likes of which is not playing out in the courts.
"It all started when Jennifer was apprehended and taken into custody, as a case was brought against her by the church in relation to a real estate transaction at 8 West King's House Road. The lands belonged to the church," said Barakat.
She added that Messado, an attorney, instructed her, a broker, to sell the property, which has been her usual practice for decades.
"So I had no reason to doubt the sincerity of her remarks. She sent me copied titles, she sent me the surveyor's ID report, there were plans that the church had drawn that were approved by the National Environment and Planning Agency, but that the church never proceeded with it," said Barakat.
The real estate broker said Messado had other agents looking at the property, and she wrote to the attorney indicating that she had listed it for sale.
"The fact is that I had never defrauded anyone of anything, and my arrest and charge by the police was based, as found in court, to be only on presumption and not fact," said Barakat.
She was supported by one of her attorneys, Duane Thomas, who also chided the police.
"It is far too frequent that the police make these false arrests. They do not do any homework, and far too frequently situation like hers arises," said Thomas.
Messado has five charges of fraud pending in the courts against her, while another 10 people have since given reports to the police, with additional cases pending against the attorney.