By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TOUR guide, who had recently testified in the Supreme Court about an armed robbery in which she and tourists were victims, found herself in Magistrate’s Court yesterday facing a possible sentence for her Straw Market scuffle with police officers two years ago.
The possibility of a custodial sentence
became a reality yesterday morning for 36-year-old Edena Farah when Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis said she would be imprisoned for six months for resisting arrest.
Her mother, a former police officer who moments before sentencing was offering up a prayer, looked as shocked as did Ms Farah and other relatives. They all started to cry.
However, Magistrate Rolle-Davis was not finished as he said that she would serve six months for threatening a police officer with death and two consecutive six-months sentences for assaulting two police officers along with a $175 fine for disorderly behaviour and obscene language.
“But that don’t make sense,” one of her female relatives screamed as she stood up to leave court.
Another female relative screamed and sobbed as she ran out of Court No. 5. The crying accused could not hold back her own tears and wails as she stepped back, turned around and embraced her outraged mother who did not want let go of her child.
“I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. The truth will come out,” she whimpered as tears flowed freely down her cheeks.
“Oh God, no,” was Farah’s final words as she wept while being taken from court.
Magistrate Rolle-Davis instructed officers to take the relative who screamed “that doesn’t make sense” into custody.
The relative told police officers to let her go as she was calm. She walked herself to a court door that led to their holding cells while officers flanked her.
Farah had faced six charges, a count each of disorderly behaviour, obscene language, resisting arrest, threats of death and two counts of assaulting a police officer, all alleged to have been committed on January 6, 2011.
It was claimed that she committed these acts at the Straw Market during a Segue Tour.
Farah was arraigned on those charges not long after she had filed a complaint to the Complaints and Corruptions unit about an incident with police that had left her injured and on crutches.
Evidence in the trial notes that the incident with police was started when Farah, while conducting her Segue Tours on a one-way road, was warned by officers, one of them a woman officer.
It was claimed that the scuffle and attack on the police was initiated by Farah.
However, Farah denied this. She said the scuffle started when someone she could not identity from their clothing, came up to her and pulled hard on her locks.
Farah was convicted of the charges and in yesterday’s proceedings, went to court to face punishment for actions, which up to yesterday she denied. Attorney Jomo Campbell made a plea in mitigation on behalf of Farah noting that his client had strong community ties as well as no previous convictions or pending matters before the courts and was capable of performing her civic duties to society as illustrated when she testified in the Supreme Court weeks ago.
He noted that Farah was not a citizen that was beyond reform and considering the circumstances surrounding the incident, had suffered enough and had learned her lesson.
“This case is certainly not one where a custodial sentence has to be imposed,” he said, adding that “we’re not running from the fact it involved officers of the law.”
“If given the opportunity, Ms Farah will seek to lead by example. She is not beyond reform,” he concluded.
While acknowledging Mr Campbell’s submissions, the magistrate noted that “this defendant’s actions were carried on in a tourist mecca which left police with no choice but to physically remove her from there.”
He said that in her actions, “she showed her disdain for police and her lack of respect for them.”
“She received injuries only because of her own actions,” the magistrate said.
He fined her $25 for obscene language and $150 for disorderly behaviour as stipulated by law. He said failure to pay those fines would result in an additional month in prison.
Regarding the remaining charges, he said she would face six months for resisting arrest and threats of death.
He said that assaulting police officers usually carries a penalty of two years imprisonment. However, he would give her consecutive six-months sentences for the two remaining charges.
After the family broke down in despair and outrage, Farah’s mother could be heard at the entrance to the Nassau Street Court complex, shouting her opinion of the sentencing.
“The police beat up on my daughter,” she screamed to the gathering crowd.
“How could one girl beat up on six policemen? You see how two people already died in their custody?” she asked to anyone who would listen.
Mr Campbell left court shortly afterwards to share his thoughts about the outcome of Farah’s sentencing and that of Stephen Wrinkle (see this page for details).
“Our opinion from the front is that it is harsh. Both of the defendants had no previous convictions. None of them had any other pending matters. We felt that a custodial sentence as it relates to those matters was not warranted,” the lawyer said.
“Both of the defendants expressed their remorse and we felt that they were capable of reform without having to be remanded in custody,” he added.
He said that appeals for both clients would be filed “today” – “both convictions and sentencing, we feel, based on the evidence as we see it, that came out of both trials.”
“As it relates to Ms Farah, she’s a female of a young age. As we indicated in court, her mother was a former member of the police force. You would’ve seen their emotional expressions. They were all surprised knowing their daughter to be the person they know her to be and they were very shocked by the decision as well.”