Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo granted businessman Tifern Henley $50,000 bail today (May 15) after hearing that the accused allegedly made off with his ex-lover’s motor jeep and her two minors, then abandoned them after he crashed the vehicle.
The 35-year-old resident of Cane Garden Bay pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, reckless and negligent act, taking a conveyance without lawful authority, and two counts of criminal damage.
The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force last week said Henley was charged with abduction. But that charge apparently didn’t make its way into court records.
Also, the prosecution noticeably did not detail in court how Henley was held. But it noted that he was nabbed at the Road Town Jetty.
Allegations are that, about 1am on May 7, the complainant (Henley’s ex-girlfriend) was at her Towers residence on Tortola with her two children – one of whom is fathered by the accused.
She woke up and entered the kitchen.
While there, Henley allegedly attacked her, and punched her multiple times on her cheeks, forehead, and the back of her neck.
He then allegedly dragged her outside.
The complainant screamed for help, the court heard.
It is further alleged that Henley forced the complainant and the two minors into the woman’s vehicle, and attempted to drive away with them.
While reversing, however, he reportedly collided into the gate. That was when the complainant made her escape.
Henley then drove off with the two children, the court heard.
About 150 metres away from the residence, Henley reportedly crashed into a pickup truck and fled the scene, leaving the two minors behind.
Neighbours removed the children from the vehicle and reunited them with their mother.
Meanwhile, reports are that the complainant was admitted to hospital after the alleged attack. She was eventually treated and released.
The incident was reported to the police, who later accosted Henley. He was charged.
In the meantime, the prosecution objected to bail when Henley was hauled before the court today.
“The gravity of this matter, the extent of the injuries sustained…The wanton disregard for the safety of two minors makes the Crown have to indicate that an objection [to bail] has to be canvassed,” said prosecuting attorney O’Neil Simpson.
Meanwhile, attorney-at-law Stephen Daniels, who is representing Henley, told the court that his client will be on his good behaviour if granted bail.
Daniels further explained that the complainant has filed a protection order against his client.
The defence attorney said an arrest warrant would be automatically effected if Henley breaches the protection ordered, by contacting the complainant or the two minors.
“He would have to be a fool to breach this order,” the defence attorney further told the court.
Not the worst of the worst
Though expressing concern about Henley’s alleged behaviour, Magistrate Baptiste-DaBreo agreed with the defence attorney that the matter is not the worst domestic case before the court.
“The circumstances of this matter are disturbing to me… [But] I do not believe this matter is the worst of the worse,” said Magistrate Baptiste-DaBreo.
Henley was ordered to attend the Partnership for Peace programme. He will return to court on July 14.