0

Court Deals With Lockdown And Curfew Violations

By FARRAH JOHNSON

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

A MEXICAN man who claimed he violated the national curfew one morning last month because he was looking for snacks and water was fined $650 yesterday.

He was among several people who appeared before Magistrate Sandradee Gardiner for curfew and lockdown violations. Many of those charged claimed they only violated the orders because they were in search of food and water from nearby relatives.

Rene Isaac Huerta, 46, was charged with violating the national curfew after police found him near New Providence Highway around 12.30am on March 24. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was given a $650 fine which he paid the same day. According to the facts ready by Prosecutor Bridgette Strapp, on the morning in question, officers stopped a Honda Fit with a man inside. When questioned, the man told officers he was looking for snacks and water. He was then taken to the Central Detective Unit and in an interview under caution, admitted the offence.

Biondi Black, 31, was also charged with violating the national curfew on two different occasions. In the first incident, officers found him near Market Street on March 21 around 10.25pm. In the second incident, Black was found in the area of Peter Street on April 13 around 10.20 am.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined $400 or one month at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) for the first charge and $250 or 14 days at the BDCS for the second charge. He was given until April 24 to pay both fines.

When given an opportunity to speak, he told the judge he had only violated the curfew because he was dropping food off to his daughter who told him that she had nothing to eat.

In response, Magistrate Gardiner told him he should have called the COVID-19 hotline if he had a legitimate reason to be outdoors.

Fabian Ferguson, 39, also pleaded guilty to violating the national curfew after he was found in the East Street area around 10.45pm on Sunday night. He was fined $400 or one month in prison. Sgt Strapp told the court that night, officers on mobile patrol in the area of East Street and Deveaux Street, observed a man standing on the street. When police approached the male for questioning, Sgt Strapp said he ran away. The officers gave chase and the defendant was subdued. During an interview under caution at a nearby station, the defendant admitted to the offence.

During the arraignment, Ferguson told the judge his power was off and he had no stove to cook with, so he decided to “take the risk of going outside” to get food from his aunt.

Rakemio King, 19, was also charged for breaking the curfew after police found him near Fox Hill Road around 8.35pm on Monday night.

He pleaded guilty and was fined $420 or one month at the BDCS. He was given until April 24 to pay the fine. During his arraignment, he also told Magistrate Gardiner that he left his house to “try and get something to eat,” because he lived by himself and was currently unemployed.

Judson Pierre, 20, also pleaded guilty to violating the national curfew after he was found in the Fowler Street area around 9.15pm on March 23. He was fined $700 which he was ordered to pay on or before April 17 or risk spending one month behind bars.

When questioned by police that night, Pierre told them he was coming home from a nearby relative. In response, Magistrate Gardiner told him it was not the time to visit relatives and if he needed to be entertained he should have used facetime or WhatsApp.

Addison Hepburn, 24, and Meshack Fernander, 22, were also charged after officers found them near Bernard Road around 7.25pm Sunday night. They both pleaded guilty to the charge and were each fined $400 which they were ordered to pay by April 17, or risk facing one month in prison.

While pleading his case, Hepburn told the judge he left his home because his grandmother wanted him to go to his mother to get something to eat.

Fernander also told Magistrate Gardiner that his family was poor and there was no water at their home so they asked him to go out to see if he could find some.

Ahmad McKenzie, 31, was charged after police found him near Acklins Street around 12.15 am on March 30.

He pleaded guilty and was fined $400 which he was ordered to pay on or before April16, or risk spending one month at the BDCS.

Gary Smith, 23, was also charged after officers found him near Walker Street around 10.20pm on March 30. He also pleaded guilty and was fined $400 which he was ordered to pay on or before April 24, or risk facing one month at the BDCS.

Several people also appeared before Magistrate Gardiner charged with violating the recent five-day lockdown implemented by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

22-year-old Valentino Smith was charged after police found him near Sea Link Drive around 2.50pm last Friday. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $400 or face spending one month in prison.

That afternoon, officers in the Sea Link Drive area on patrol observed a Nissan March vehicle travelling east. They beckoned the driver to stop who —when questioned — told police he was going by his mother who lived in the area.

Smith was represented by attorney Ian Cargill who asked Magistrate Gardiner for leniency since his client did not waste the court’s time. Smith was subsequently given until April 17 to pay the fine.

Shannondor Williams, 20, was also charged after he was found near Thatch Palm Avenue around 9am on Sunday morning. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $800.

Sanchez Delva, 19, was charged after police found him near Cordeaux Avenue around 12.40pm on Monday.

Sgt Strapp said when Delva was questioned by police on the day in question, he told them he was “walking to one of his brethrens for a plate of food”.

During the hearing, Delva told the judge he was outside because he had an altercation with his grandmother. In response, Magistrate Gardiner told Delva he has to take the lockdown seriously because people were dying from COVID-19.

Herbert Edgecombe, 28, also pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown after officers found him near Graham Drive around 8.35pm on Monday. He was fined $800 which he was ordered to pay on or before April 24 or risk facing one month at the BDCS. According to the prosecution, when officers questioned Edgecombe that night, he told them he was going to buy ‘Grabba leaf’ to smoke.

Patrick Finlayson, 28, was found near Florida Court around 5.45pm on Sunday. He pleaded guilty and was fined $500 which he was ordered to pay on or before April 24, or risk facing one month at the BDCS.

Floy Andrews was charged after she was found in the Matthew Street area around 7.30pm last Friday. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $500 or one month in prison.

Lelon Gibson, 42, also pleaded guilty to violating the lockdown after officers found him in the Kemp Road area around 5.20pm on Sunday. During the arraignment, he told the judge he left his house to get some Sunday dinner from his cousin who cooks the “best food”. He was subsequently charged $800 which he was ordered to pay by April 16. Failure to pay the fine would result in one month in prison.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.