A bench warrant was yesterday issued for the arrest of Jamaica’s Commissioner of the Corrections, Ina Hunter.

The bench warrant was issued by Acting Senior Parish Judge for St Catherine, Gloria Henry-McKenzie.

Hunter, who’s been charged by the St Catherine Health Department for breaching the Public Health Act, failed to attend court to answer the charges. Her attorney Christopher Townsend, told the court Hunter was sick. He presented a doctor’s certificate as proof and pleaded for the withdrawal of the warrant.

However, Judge Gloria Henry-McKenzie, would not be moved. The judge adjourned the trial to March, 3, next year. She also ordered that the warrant be stayed until that date and that Hunter be arrested on that day.

Hunter was charged in September after she disobeyed a 30-day notice from the St Catherine Public Health Department to repair a sewage leak at the St Catherine Adult Correctional Centre in Spanish Town.

The health department said the leak is discharging wastewater with an offensive odor unto White Church Street in the town.

Attorney Christopher Townsend, on Tuesday, told the court the leak is not yet fixed. He said for repairs to be effected, the Correctional Centre which has 600 prisoners will have to be closed for 12 months.

However, Judge Henry-McKenzie pointed out that the problem is a long-standing health hazard and must be remedied immediately.

Attorney Townsend told the court that the Ministry of Health and the Attorney General are now in consultation on the matter.