By FARRAH JOHNSON
A teenager was charged in Magistrate’s Court yesterday, accused of selling alcohol in breach of the COVID-19 emergency orders.
Sheedenson Altidor, 18, appeared before Senior Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis charged with operating a non-essential business on April 21. He pleaded guilty to the charge but had his case dismissed after it was discovered he worked as a cashier at My Desire Foodstore, which was allowed to operate during the curfew as an essential service.
Prosecutor Kendrick Bauld told the court on Tuesday around 2.20pm, officers on mobile patrol in the area of Wulff Road observed a group of males in front of a yellow building and asked them to disperse. It was then the officers noticed that one of the males who was in front of the building had alcohol in his hand. When questioned, the man told police he had gotten it from the foodstore inside the building.
Officers then entered the foodstore and approached a man who identified himself as Sheedenson Altidor. When questioned, Altidor told the police he worked for the store. As a result, he was taken to the station and interviewed but declined to comment. Sgt Bauld said officers also attempted to contact the store’s owner several times, but were unsuccessful.
During the arraignment, Altidor was represented by attorney Lennox Colby. He told the judge a man named Jimmy Mitchell was the owner of the foodstore and explained that Mr Mitchell was currently in Haiti and could not return to the country due to the current travel restrictions. Mr Colby also showed the magistrate the beverage that prompted the police’s original investigation. Noting that it was a tiny bottle containing only 40 percent of alcohol, he argued his client was a teenager who was placed in a difficult situation by adults and was only trying to do his job. Insisting Altidor did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty at his first opportunity, Mr Colby asked Magistrate Rolle-Davis not to impose a custodial sentence or a hefty fine.
In response, Magistrate Rolle-Davis said Altidor should not have been arrested since he was working as an essential employee for a foodstore. The case was subsequently dismissed.