By FARRAH JOHNSON
AN elderly man who told police he went outside to stretch his legs was fined $400 yesterday for violating the recent five-day lockdown.
He was among several people who appeared before Magistrate Sandradee Gardiner for curfew and lockdown infractions.
Charles Johnson, 71, was charged after police found him near Andros Avenue around 5.25pm on Sunday. The lockdown ended Tuesday morning.
Johnson pleaded guilty and was fined $400. Magistrate Gardiner said she took into account the fact he is a senior citizen and gave him until April 24 to pay the fine.
Prosecutor Kenny Thompson told the court at the time of his arrest, Johnson told officers he went outside to stretch his legs. In response, Magistrate Gardiner told Johnson the fact that he was among those most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 meant he shouldn't be outdoors. She also said if he felt like he needed to exercise, he should walk around his yard or stretch, and admonished him not to take the risk of going outdoors unnecessarily.
Meanwhile a Haitian man who claimed he was arrested while attempting to get a plate of food from his cousin was also fined $400 yesterday.
Vilaire Fleurosier, 36, and his cousin Lerdia Henry, 28, were charged after police found them near Cambridge Street around 1pm on Monday.
They both pleaded guilty to the charge and were each fined $400 or one month at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. Magistrate Gardiner said the fine was to be paid on or before April 17 at noon.
Prosecutor Bridgette Strapp told the court officers found both defendants walking on Cambridge Street on Monday. When stopped for questioning, Sgt Strapp said the pair told officers they were going to hail a cousin. They were subsequently cautioned and arrested.
In court yesterday, Fleurosier denied telling police he was going to see his cousin. Through an interpreter, he said he was on the road because he was hungry and his cousin, Lerdia Henry, had brought some food for him. Fleurosier claimed he walked out to the road right in front of his gate when the police came. He said he ran back in his house, but the officers knocked on his door and took him to the Nassau Street Police Station.
In response, Magistrate Gardiner told him the fact he was walking outside the confines of his yard meant he was guilty of breaking the curfew. She explained the 24-hour curfew meant people were only allowed to be at home or in their yard and told Fleurosier that he needed to make sure he had sufficient food at home before the lockdown or curfew.
Christopher Colebrooke, 58, and Jammal Goodman, 32, also pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown after they were found near Palmetto Avenue around 9.30am last Friday.
They were each fined $400 which they were ordered to pay by April 24. Failure to pay the fines would result in both defendants spending one month at BDCS.
When given an opportunity to speak, Colebrooke and Goodman told Magistrate Gardiner that they took the chance of going outside to get soursop leaves for Colebrooke's sick girlfriend.
Magistrate Gardiner told both defendants that the leaves were not worth the risk, because if they had taken the virus back home to Colebrooke's sick girlfriend, she could have died.
Karen Sands, 42, was also charged after officers found her near JFK Drive around 10pm last Thursday. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $450 or one month in prison.
During the hearing, she told Magistrate Gardiner she was on her way home at the time of her arrest.
Cordeirro Ferguson, 30, was also charged after he was found near Eden Street off Farrington Road around 7.30pm on Monday. He pleaded guilty and was fined $450 or one month at the BDCS.
McDonalds Fearnlus, 37, was charged after police found him on Saffron Street, Pinewood Gardens around 8.50pm on Monday night. He was fined $600 or two months in prison.
Officers found Derek Newton, 30, in the area of Darling Lane around 2.30pm last Friday. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $600 or two months behind bars. When given an opportunity to speak, he told Magistrate Forbes that he was going to a friend who had prepared a food package for him and his father because they had no food in their house and he did not have an opportunity to go to the store.