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Hundreds Hold Vigil for Doctor Convicted of Prescribing Drugs Illegally

March 11, 2007 — Well over 500 people turned out for a candlelight vigil in the Tutu Mall parking lot Sunday evening to voice their support for Dr. Paul Maynard, convicted on felony charges last month.
On Feb. 15, a jury convicted Maynard on four counts of prescribing pain medication to patients without "a legitimate medical purpose." (See "St. Thomas Doctor Found Guilty of Illegally Prescribing Drugs.")
It was standing room only as the assembled crowd filled the area near the Innovative offices, with many bringing their own chairs or sitting in cars to hear the words of their fellow citizens, all of whom testified to Maynard's character.
Among the speakers were many of his patients, some school officials and an advocate, Siobhan Reynolds, founder of Pain Relief Network (PRN), who flew in from New Mexico for the event.
The evening, which was filled with testimonials, songs and rhetoric, began with a prayer by Dr. Bentley Thomas of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church: "Dr. Maynard is a man of character, of integrity, a people person, one who has cared for many of us here and many others who are not here."
Whitman Browne, principal of Gladys Abraham Elementary School, served as master of ceremonies. "I think it is a courageous thing to do for all of us who have come out today, to say it has happened, we are angry about it, and we are going to do what we can to correct it," Browne said in his opening remarks.
Browne, a Nevis native like Maynard, said he attended the trial and observed many irregularities and injustices. In a private moment, he said, "I am here because he is my doctor and because he is a good man."
Throughout the event, Maynard's wife, Patricia, stayed on the podium. Their son sang, "Light your candle and prepare to light up the world," moving many in the crowd to tears.
Vigil organizer Lynette Gumbs, a friend of the Maynard family, discovered PRN by searching the Internet and contacted Reynolds. "I had to do something, because I just didn't think what had happened was right," she said. "So I got on the computer and I found the Pain Relief Network, and we went from there."
"We are working on these types of cases all across the U.S.," Reynolds said. "I began as a filmmaker who attended a trial in South Carolina in 2002 and was shocked and appalled by what I found the government was up to."
The PRN website describes it as "a network of pain patients, family members of people in pain, physicians, attorneys and activists who are working toward a day when people in pain will be afforded the simple dignity and compassion due all ill Americans."
PRN has many cases in appeal, and one going before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following Reynolds' speech, several of Maynard's patients spoke of his kindnesses to them. Former Housing Commissioner Ira Hobson spoke in support of the doctor. The crowd sang songs and, at dusk, lit hundreds of candles. Organizers passed a hat for Maynard's defense fund. Many vowed to continue the action with more vigils and peaceful protests.
None of this changes the fact that the doctor was convicted by a jury and now sits in jail awaiting sentencing on May 8.
After the doctor's conviction, Maynard attorney Gordon Rhea said, "The court has heard the doctor's testimony, knows the evidence and the verdict is not substantiated against the evidence that was presented."
Rhea said he would file a motion to acquit. Judge James Giles, the presiding judge in the case, said he did not "think it was likely" that the defense's motion for acquittal would be granted.
"The court must remand the defendant unless it feels that there is a substantial likelihood that the motion for acquittal will be granted," he explained. "And at this point, I cannot see why that would be likely."
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