A longstanding dispute between two homeless men landed one of them in the law courts today.
Richard Athelstan Holder, 52, of no fixed place of abode, pleaded guilty to robbing Alexander Franco of a $300 cellular phone on New Year’s Day.
Franco, who is reportedly a “watchman” near Rogers Stationery on Cheapside, The City, was passing through the vendors stalls situated along Reef Road when Holder approached him in an aggressive manner.
“Why you throw my trolley?” Holder demanded, referring to his upturned trolley which was carrying bottles and onions.
Franco denied the allegation, but that did not sit well with Holder who demanded that Franco pay $5 for his actions.
The argument led to a scuffle between the two men.
Franco, who fell on some wooden pallets and hurt himself, tried to use his phone to call for help. However, Holder, allegedly armed with a knife, snatched the device, the police prosecutor Sergeant Rudy Pilgrim told the court.
In giving his version of what took place on the day, Holder told Magistrate Douglas Frederick that when he arrived in the area he found the trolley “skin up”.
He said he usually “hustled” by the Cheapside market, where he also slept.
“He [Franco] lives on the street just like me and we have had disputes in the past. I asked him why he skin up my stuff because he was the only person there,” Holder said.
However, the magistrate pointed out to Holder that he might have jumped to conclusions and “there is a great possibility that it might not have been him, because you didn’t see him”.
But Holder was adamant that it was Franco, because of their past encounters, even as he explained that he made a conscious decision to live on the streets so as not to be a burden to his family.
“It was not easy, but I make it comfortable for me . . . But I don’t rob people . . . and I gave him back the phone. Sir, I does behave myself to keep myself away from prison,” he insisted.
The magistrate then placed Holder on a bond to keep the peace for three months. If he breaches that bond, he must pay a $750 forthwith fine or he will spend three months in prison.
“But you need to stop assuming stuff. See the man and don’t see him,” Frederick advised Holder.