Two young men got lucky on Friday when they avoided being remanded to prison after missing their court dates.
Contending that he had witnessed too many people in the last two weeks failing to turn up to court on the right days, Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes initially told assault accused Edgrick Livingstone Yearwood and alleged thief Jeremy Che Weekes that he was going to make “an example out of them”.
When they reappeared in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court and were asked why they did not make their scheduled court appearances, Yearwood told Magistrate Weekes he had forgotten his date. He said he had also contacted his surety who did not know the date either.
Meanwhile, Weekes – who the Chief Magistrate said was not related to him – indicated that he had written down his date as September 16 instead of September 15, the correct date.
Yearwood, 21, of Maxwell Coast Road, Christ Church had been on $2 000 bail after pleading not guilty to assaulting Vinara Hinds on March 28, 2022.
Weekes, a 24-year-old resident of Welches Terrace, St Michael, was on $350 bail after he denied stealing 24 packs of chocolate valued $44.90 belonging to PriceSmart Inc., on September 26, 2019.
“I am tired of a lot of you accused persons not understanding how important it is to know your date, and I am tired of sureties not taking their responsibility seriously. This has been happening regularly for the last two weeks.
“When people miss their dates, we have challenges and my staff has to work harder but y’all do not care. The fact that the surety does not even know the date shows they are not taking their responsibility seriously either,” the Chief Magistrate said.
“There is only one good way for you to understand and for the sureties to understand. That is to either remand the two of you today or to take money from the sureties. If the two of you do not return to this room today with your sureties, it will not end well.”
It was at this time that Yearwood indicated to the court that his surety, an attorney-at-law, was out of the island.
After being directed to stand in the court for about 15 minutes, the Chief Magistrate then gave each man 90 seconds to state their case in order to keep their freedom.
“I take responsibility for missing my date but I have never missed a court date in the last three years. I would also like to get up and go to work in the morning,” Weekes, who went first, said.
“You escaped the noose,” was the Chief Magistrate’s reply.
Weekes then chose to change his plea to guilty. He will return to court on September 23 when the facts will be read and he will be sentenced.
After much prompting from the Chief Magistrate, Yearwood then said: “The main reason I don’t want to be remanded is because I am currently working and I have never missed a court date in my life. I also have a child on the way.”
The Chief Magistrate accepted his response, congratulated him, and gave him March 27, 2023, as his date to return to court.