While it was his friends who encouraged him to throw a rock through the window of a passing minibus, Lumiere Kejan Clarke stood alone in the dock to plead guilty to the three charges he faced as a result of his actions.
Appearing before Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes, the 16-year-old resident of Emmerton Lane, St Michael admitted to damaging the vehicle belonging to Pedro Foster without lawful excuse, and assaulting a female and damaging her blouse.
Outlining the facts, court prosecutor Randolph Boyce stated that around 4:30 p.m., Foster was driving minibus B26 with several passengers on the Speightstown to Bridgetown route.
Upon approaching the area near the Nazarene Church along Black Rock Main Road, St Michael, he heard a loud, shattering sound and the screams of passengers demanding that he stop the bus. He did so and saw several people running from the area. When Foster checked the vehicle, he realised that one of the sliding windows on the left side of the minibus and the lower body panel had been damaged and that a female student of the Alexandra Secondary School had been injured. The 14-year-old had been standing at the rear of the vehicle when the rock hit the window and struck her chest.
The damages for the vehicle were estimated at $1 000, and $35 for the girl’s blouse.
Apologising for his actions, Clarke told the court that on that day, he was with “the wrong crowd”.
“I was encouraged to throw a stone through the van and didn’t think about the damage I could cause until after I threw it. I sorry for the hurt to the victim,” the teenager said.
He also pleaded for a second chance, noting that he had recently applied to the Skills Training Programme.
“The same people that encourage you, none of them ain’t in here with you,” Magistrate Weekes told Clarke before releasing him on $2 000 bail.
Placing him on a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, the magistrate also ordered Clarke not to lime with groups of males unless it was for sports.
Clarke’s mother, who was present in the court, however, urged the magistrate not to grant him that exception, pointing out that some of the same negative influences that her son needed to stay away from would be involved in such activities. Weekes changed the order to reflect her request.
Before adjourning the matter until May 31, the magistrate also ordered Clarke to be enrolled in a course by then, pointing out that the government had several available programmes, including the National Transformation Initiative.
“He has potential and I will work with him,” Magistrate Weekes added.