By Farah Johnson
A TEENAGER who claimed he violated the lockdown because he went to his neighbour’s house to retrieve his phone charger was fined $550 on Friday.
He was one of several people who appeared in the Magistrate’s Court for curfew and lockdown infractions. Many of those charged denied violating the emergency orders and had their matters adjourned for trial.
Tariq Flowers appeared before Magistrate Sandradee Gardiner after officers found him in Pastel Gardens around 11.15pm on May 16. He pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown and was fined $550 or one month in prison.
When given an opportunity to speak, Flowers told the magistrate that he was by his neighbour’s house that morning and had left his charger there. Still, when asked why he couldn’t borrow one of his family member’s chargers for the time being since the lockdown was in effect, he said the people he was living with only had iPhone chargers and he had an android phone.
Meanwhile, Melvin Lavarity, 20, was charged after officers found him on Meadow Street around 11.45pm. He pleaded guilty and was fined $800 or two months at BCDS.
According to the prosecution, on the night in question, officers on mobile patrol observed Lavarity walking in the Meadow Street vicinity. When they stopped and questioned him, he told them that he had just come from the studio and was heading to his mother’s house.
During the hearing, Lavarity told the magistrate that he is “usually at the studio all day, every day making music". He also claimed he didn’t have a phone so he wasn’t able to keep track of time. In response, Magistrate Gardiner told Lavarity that people could not break the law and expect to be patted on the hand.
Ken Evans, 57; Rosevelt McKenzie, 48; Marcian Mackey, 35; Erika Gibson, 32; Gennera Miller, 31; and Kendra Davis, 23, also appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney for curfew violations after officers found them in Ideal Estates around 8.45pm on May 18.
Prosecutor Bridgette Strapp told the court that officers, acting on information, proceeded to a residence in Ideal Estates where they saw a large gathering. Sgt Strapp said the officers found more than 20 people at the residence and questioned Ken Evans, who said he was having a birthday party. At the time, Evans claimed that the persons had come to the house to hail him.
During the hearing, Evans was represented by attorney Ian Cargill. He told the magistrate the defendants were arrested before 9pm. He also noted that only six of them were charged and argued that people are allowed to have gatherings as long as it includes less than ten people.
Attorney Sherita Forbes, who represented Mackey during the hearing, also claimed that her client was arrested while he was in his own yard. As a result, Magistrate McKinney said he would enter not guilty pleas for the accused and adjourned the matter to September 3 for trial.
Brandon Cooper, 24, was charged after officers found him on Irish Spring Court off Lifebuoy Street between 12.45pm and 2.45pm on May 14. He was charged again after officers claimed they found him in the same area around 11.30pm on May 19. He denied both charges and the matter was adjourned to September 3 for trial. He was granted $2,500 bail with one surer in the interim.