It was supposed to be a simple transfer of a remanded man from the No. 2 District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court to the holding cells at Central Police Station.
But people inside and outside the courtroom this afternoon witnessed a struggle between a policeman and accused that resulted in both men tumbling down the steps. In the midst of it all, though, Constable Andrew Howard ensured that Omar Jamal Maynard never escaped the arms of the law.
Just moments earlier, Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant had ordered Constable Howard to remove Maynard from the court after he was hostile.
The 27-year-old landscaper of Grazettes Main Road, St Michael had become upset after his $15,000 bail was revoked, when his surety informed the court that he no longer wanted the responsibility.
“Omar doesn’t want to help himself,” the surety told the court. “I get he a job, he blow it . . . a place to stay. . . . I can’t carry that responsibility,” the frustrated man said.
Maynard is accused, along with another man, of entering Tapas Restaurant as a trespasser on August 26, 2015 and stealing a cash tin worth $400 and $2,400 in cash belonging to Food Link Limited. They were allegedly armed with a knife at the time.
The two are also charged with entering A & C Security Services Limited as trespassers on August 31, 2015 and stealing four guns, 45 rounds of ammunition, three holsters and two bulletproof vests, while armed with a knife.
Maynard was granted bail on May 13, 2016 after being remanded into custody since September 17 the previous year.
However, prosecutor Sergeant Janice Ifill today objected to a second surety posting bail for the landscaper.
Her objections were based on the serious nature of the charge, fear that Maynard may fail to present himself to court if granted bail, as well as for his own safety.
But an upset Maynard responded: “There is nothing I have done to break the law. I have to start work in a week. I ask the boss for some time to go to the Mental [Psychiatric Hospital] to get my issues deal with. I ain’t do nothing out of the way, I ain’t do nothing, Ma’am. Yes, I use drugs but I ain’t commit no crime, Ma’am.”
When questioned by the magistrate who was seeking further information about his situation, Maynard refused to answer and it was then that Cuffy-Sargeant remanded him into custody until February 24, and asked Constable Howard to remove him from the court.
The officer had to make several attempts before getting the handcuffs on Maynard. When he finally did, he opened the door and approached the first step but he was shoved by Maynard. The officer shoved back, losing his footing in the process.
The two tumbled down the steps but Constable Howard maintained his hold on Maynard who fought him the entire way.
During the mêlée, the officer was able to subdue Maynard, even as two of his colleagues came running to lend assistance.
Constable Howard held the prisoner by the shirt and pants and hauled him off to the cells.
The situation disrupted the day’s sitting for a few minutes as queries were made about whether the policeman had been injured.
However, Constable Howard returned sometime later, still sharply dressed in uniform – albeit with a few wrinkles – and continued his duties.