Caught on the streets “in the dead of night” during COVID curfew hours, two young men will have to pay the court a combined $10 000 fine.
They are 24-year-old Akeem Venice Jones, of Hindsbury Road, St Michael and 27-year-old Deniko Jarda Lowe, of Fairfield Road, Tudor Bridge, St Michael.
Officer Victoria Taitt disclosed that police responded to a report of two suspicious persons wearing dark clothing along Hill Road, Bank Hall, St Michael in the wee hours of this morning.
They responded and on arriving at Bank Hall Plaza the two were seen on foot along the roadway around 3 a.m. However, they fled on seeing lawmen and had to be pursued. They were caught in the area of the hard court.
Lowe, a pastry chef, told police he was on his way home while Jones, who is unemployed, said he was walking Lowe halfway.
In addressing the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court Jones, who is known, said he and his co-accused were at his residence drinking, smoking tobacco and watching television around 11 p.m.
“I apparently fell asleep,” he disclosed adding that sometime around 2 a.m. Lowe received a phone call informing him that he had to work later that day. Jones explained that Lowe was not comfortable walking the road alone at that time so “as a friend I tried to walk him half way”.
Admitting that he knew there was an island-wide curfew in place Jones said his friend arrived at his house around 8 p.m. and they began drinking around 10 p.m. “He was not expecting to go to work until he got the call. . . . We were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Jones who admitted they he was in dark clothing while Lowe had on blue and white.
The Chief Magistrate did not believe the explanation.
“There is a lot missing from this story. Something is very wrong but I will not allow you to reveal more than you want,” Weekes said.
Lowe meanwhile explained that he had actually arrived at Jones’ residence around 7 p.m. and was planning to head back home before the curfew took effect.
“I was planning to go home for about 8 p.m.” Lowe stated adding that “we did run” on seeing the police.
“This sound even more strange . . . You all understand that this does not make any sense?
“I don’t believe a word you all said. The two of wunna were up to mischief,” the magistrate said.
They then urged the court to imposed community service.
Weekes responded, “You understand that people have been getting fined for breaking curfew and you were outside in dark clothing and ran. Wunna lucky, wunna ain’t get more charges . . . You can’t be running around in the dead of night.”
After a means assessment the magistrate imposed a $6, 000 fine on Lowe which must be paid in six months or spend nine months in prison.
Jones meantime said it had been difficult to get a certificate of character given a prior conviction.
Weekes said this was a problem as it narrowed the types of job that Jones could get and as such imposed a $4 000 fine on him given his circumstances. The fine must be paid in six months or he also faces a nine-month jail sentence.
Both men were advised that they could come back to court to ask for an extension to pay the money if they were unable to pay the fine in the stipulated time but they had to do so before the time was up.