Advocacy groups back Shanoya's family, mull civil suit against accused
Hear The Children’s Cry founder, Betty Ann Blaine
Advocacy groups, Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (LCF) and Hear The Children’s Cry have both offered support to the family of slain teenager Shanoya Wray.
The LCF has instructed two of its attorneys to watch the criminal proceedings on behalf of the family and has said it could bring a civil suit on the family's behalf.
“The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship condemns the culture of death in Jamaica. Our organization has taken note of the recent incidents of murder of young girls, including 13 year-old Shanoya Wray and has offered legal support to the victim’s family,” said LCF President, Helene Coley-Nicholson in a statement issued Tuesday by Betty Ann Blaine, founder of Hear The Children’s Cry.
According to the statement, two attorneys attached to the LCF - Karleen Afflick and Ricardo Sandcroft - have agreed to watch the proceedings in court with a view to advising the family and representing their interest.
"The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship is taking instructions from the family and has not ruled out the possibility of bringing civil proceedings against the accused,” the statement said.
For its part, Hear The Children’s Cry said it is providing counselling and emotional support for the family.
“Since Shanoya’s death, we have been working with the family and building a relationship that is helping them to cope with this tragedy over the short and long term. We have made our counseling services and other support services fully available to the family, including Shanoya’s siblings and extended family members,” said Blaine.
“The Wray family has repeatedly asked us to help them to get justice for their daughter, and we intend to support them in any way we can,” Blaine added.
Two men are before the courts having been charged in connection with Wray’s murder. They are Tinidadian national Sanju Maharaj, 27, and 19-year-old Jamaican Leonardo Madden, who is a former medical student.
Both were remanded in custody until October 12, when they appeared in court on Monday.
Wray’s skeletal remains were found in a house on Walley Close in Mona, St Andrew in July, five days after she was reported missing .
The police were called to the house in the upscale community after neighbours reported smelling a foul odour, peered through a bathroom window and saw Wray’s body in the bath tub.
According to investigators, Maharaj killed Wray and used chemicals in an attempt to get rid of the body. Reports are that the school teacher was already before the Home Circuit Court on accusation of having had sex with the underage girl.
A church service commemorating the life of the 13 year-old was held on Sunday, September 9, in the community of Bedward Gardens in August Town.