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Two Plead Guilty To Disturbing Public Peace

BY DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

Two men who were involved in a physical altercation were charged with disturbing the public peace in the Freeport Magistrate Court this week. 

James Miller, 19, and Donald Temple, 44, both of Freeport, appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Debbye Ferguson in Court One.

It is alleged that on November 14, in Freeport, the accused men disturbed the public peace by fighting. Both initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed their pleas to guilty.

Temple, a Jamaican national, said it was his first time appearing in court and asked the judge what it meant when you enter a not guilty plea. After she explained to him what it meant, he changed his not guilty plea and admitted that he was fighting with the accused, Miller.

Prosecutor Calsey Arthur read the particulars of the case to the court. At about 12.51 pm on November 14, police responded to a fight at Adena Court, where police assistance was requested. On arrival, officers spoke to James Miller, who had visible injuries to the head as a result of an altercation with Donald Temple. Temple told officers that while working on a car Miller came and harassed him, which resulted in them fighting. Both men were arrested.

During the arraignment, Temple told the Court that he was at his residence working a vehicle when Miller came in the yard and told him he was not doing the job right on his friend's car and started cursing him. Temple said Miller removed the iron car jack from under the vehicle and threw it in the bush. He did this twice more, once while Temple was underneath the vehicle working. 

Temple said he told Miller to leave his residence, but Miller went to his vehicle and returned with a screwdriver and brushed up against him. He pushed Miller off, and then Miller stabbed him in the chest and back. Temple said he hit Miller in the head with the iron jack and he dropped to the ground.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Ferguson asked Temple if he knew Miller. He said that he did not know him, but was working on his friend's vehicle at the time. 

She ordered Temple to pay a fine of $150 by 3pm on November 23, or serve two months imprisonment. Once payment is made, the judge said she would grant him a conditional discharge.

Miller, who had pleaded not guilty, disputed Temple’s story. He also claimed that he first filed a complaint with the police against Temple.

The judge told Miller that he would have a chance to explain his side at trial, and set bail at $300 cash, and adjourned the matter to February 1, 2021. Prosecutor Arthur also objected to bail saying that Miller has antecedents and has been before the courts for previous matters.

Miller told the judge that he did not have $300 cash for bail, and that he did not want to go to jail because his girlfriend and baby were outside waiting on him in the car, so he changed his not guilty plea to guilty.  

He admitted to having a screwdriver and stabbing Temple but claimed only after Temple had hit him in his head with the iron jack. He said that he was disoriented from the blow to his head, and was bleeding, and went to the hospital for his injuries.

The judge ordered Miller to pay a fine of $150 by 3pm on November 23. On payment of the fine, a conditional discharge would be granted. 

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