By FARRAH JOHNSON
A man who claimed he violated the weekend lockdown because he had to get water to clean his great grandfather’s bathroom floor was fined $500 yesterday.
He was among several people who appeared before Magistrate Andrew Forbes for curfew and lockdown infractions. Many of those charged admitted to being aware of the country’s emergency orders when they were found outside the confines of their homes.
Mario Bryce, 32, was charged after officers found him on Andros Avenue around 9.45pm on April 26. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 or three months in prison.
Prosecutor Lincoln McKenzie told the court on the night in question, officers observed Bryce walking on Andros Avenue. However, when they approached him, he “broke off running.” Sgt McKenzie said officers eventually found the defendant in some nearby bushes. Asked why he was outside during the lockdown, he told the police he was just walking.
When given an opportunity to speak, Bryce told Magistrate Forbes that his great grandfather had defecated in the bathroom. He also said there was no running water in the house so he had to go outside to get some water to clean up the mess. He said even though it was late he decided to take the risk because his great grandfather used the bathroom a lot in the night and he didn’t want him to use it in its current state.
After hearing his explanation, Magistrate Forbes told Bryce if he had explained his situation to the officers that night, he would not have had to appear in court on Monday. In response, Bryce told the magistrate prior to being arrested he had been stopped by two other police cars who had given him permission to get the water. Still, he admitted when he saw a third police car approaching him that night, he panicked and ran.
Meanwhile, Carine Ceremy, 38, was also charged after police found her on John Road around 12.45pm on April 25. She pleaded guilty but was discharged after the prosecution elected to withdraw the charge.
During the arraignment, Ceremy told Magistrate Forbes that she was currently homeless and was living in a friend’s car that was parked in front of their residence. She said at the time of her arrest, she was standing right next to the car trying to “stretch her legs.” She insisted she did not mean to be a “nuisance to the law.”
In response, Magistrate Forbes said the court would try to find some accommodations to assist Ceremy in her situation.
Shanice Thomas, 25, of Kingston Jamaica, was also charged after police found her on New Providence Highway around 10.25pm on Sunday.
She pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 or three months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
During the hearing, she told Magistrate Forbes that she had only left her residence because she had received a call from a male friend who asked her to come to his office for two hours to help him. She said at the time, her friend had told her he had called the COVID-19 hotline to get permission.
In response, Magistrate Forbes told Thomas if she needed to leave her residence, she should call the emergency hotline herself. He also told her she would be deported to Jamaica once the current travel restrictions were lifted.
Officers found 39-year-old Shayne Campbell near Killdeer Drive, Monastery Park around 10.25am on April 26. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 or three months in prison.
He told Magistrate Forbes that he had only left his house to check on his diabetic mother who was “very sickly.” He explained that his daughter was staying with his mother and he was not able to get in contact with them at all the day before, so he went to make sure his mother didn’t have a diabetic shock.
During the hearing, Magistrate Forbes told Campbell while he was sympathetic given the circumstances, there was a process that had to be followed. He also referenced the recent amendment to the COVID-19 emergency powers that would see the maximum penalty for curfew and lockdown violations increase to $20,000 or five years in prison and emphasised that a society can only function if people followed the rules.
Billydee Robinson, 45, was charged after officers found him on Karl Road off of Claridge Road around 11.10pm on April 25. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 or three months at the BDCS.
Terrance Rose,41, was also charged after he was found on Baha Mar Avenue around 11.40pm on April 23. He also pleaded guilty and was fined $500 or three months behind bars.
When given an opportunity to speak, Rose told Magistrate Forbes that he had only left his house to go help his one-legged uncle who lived around the corner. He explained that his uncle was in a wheelchair and could not do anything for himself so he went there to “help him out.”