Jamal Skeete told one of this island’s magistrates this afternoon that he was “not expecting to return home today” after he was charged for committing an act of sacrilege during the weekend lockdown.
Skeete, of Bedford Lane, Greenfield, Roebuck Street, St Michael pleaded guilty before Magistrate Elwood Watts to contravening Paragraph (2) of the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (CURFEW) (NO.4) Directive when he left home on Sunday, February 21 not being a member or employee of an essential service or a person with an emergency.
He, however, could not enter a plea to the charge that on the same day he entered a place of divine worship namely the Advent Seventh Day Adventist Church, located at Bank Hall, with intent to commit an arrestable offence.
Station Sergeant St Clair Phillips told the District ‘C’ magistrate that police received a report around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday morning informing them that someone was on the church’s premises. Skeete was there when they arrived and he informed the lawmen that he was on the property to get something to eat.
“Honestly I don’t know why it is that happened to me. So I take full responsibility,” Skeete who is known to the court for burglary said. “I was going by my cousin to get food at the bottom of Buckingham Hill . . . I had on a mask,” he added.
The magistrate made it clear to him that the “stand home” order imposed over the weekend was put in place to safeguard the country.
The judicial officer also told Skeete that he would be remanded given the High Court warrant out for him and that a fine would be imposed on the breach of curfew offence.
“I wasn’t expecting to go home today. I know what I did,” he stated.
He was fined $2 500 forthwith or 30 days in prison. The amount was not honoured.
He was also remanded to HMP Dodds until March 24 in connection with the sacrilege charge and will reappear before Magistrate Watts that day. It is expected that he will get a hearing for the No. 2 Supreme Court during his time on remand with respect to the warrant.