From the Courts
February 14, 2014
Van driver involved in fight with police jailed

Eliyet Guy’s eyes opened widely when magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias found the van driver guilty of assaulting police officer Chet Solomon on Wednesday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.{{more}}

Prompting the look of disbelief Guy’s face, Browne-Matthias sentenced the 25-year-old Calder resident to nine months in jail for assault, which arose from a fight between both men in Arnos Vale on January 24.

In addition to the assault charge, Guy was sentenced to six months in custody for resisting arrest; a $500 fine for stopping his vehicle elsewhere other than a bus stop; and three weeks imprisonment for obstruction of traffic. He was fined $400 forthwith for using insultive language, and for damage to property, Guy was fined $216 forthwith or spend two weeks in jail.

His sentences will run concurrently.

The magistrate described the incident as “crazy” and stated that she does not want to see a repeat of such an incident at all.

During the trial, PC 806 Solomon said he was on duty in Arnos Vale, close to where Vee Jays Restaurant is located, when he saw motor vehicle HB 158 stop and allow a student to enter the omnibus.

Solomon told the court that he stopped the vehicle, driven by Guy and informed him of his observation.

He added that he asked Guy for his driver’s licence, to which Guy responded,”Way yo war me licence fa? Yo stupid ar what?”

Solomon added that he informed Guy that he was going to arrest him for stopping the vehicle elsewhere other than a bus stop and obstructing traffic.

The officer said he asked Guy on two occasions to alight from the vehicle and he refused.

Solomon further told the court he opened the driver’s door and when Guy came out, he held onto him, and a scuffle ensued.

A video showing the entire skrimish between the two men was captured on phone camera by a Community College student, who was subsequently arrested and charged for using threatening language against Solomon.

Guy, in his testimony, said that he was coming from the Roseau direction towards Vee Jays when he saw the officer standing at the side of the road.

“I see officer Chet there stand up. He walk up to me and say no bus stop na dey here. I told the conductor not to open the door…,” he recalled.

Guy added that Solomon demanded to see his driver’s license and he questioned him as to why.

“Me say license fo wa? Nobody na come out the van and nobody na go in.”

According to Guy, Solomon opened the driver’s door, grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him out of the vehicle.

“When he pull me out the van, it (van) been in gear still and the vehicle pitch off… After that, he scuffle me up and start to pull me and pull me saying he go lock me up,” Guy recounted.

He further stated that he told Solomon to allow him to drive the van to the police station.

“He heng onto me ah choke me. He say alyo van man feel alyo bad and he continue to pull me down to the airport. He tek off he helmet and hit me one in me head and then I boxed him after,” he added.

Further in his testimony, Guy said an officer, who was in plain clothes at the time, came to where they were and kicked him to the ground.

“He pull he gun at me and rest it at my head.”

After he was handcuffed, Guy said he was taken to the Narcotics base in Arnos Vale, where he was kicked by Solomon.

Guy said Solomon was lying when he told the court that a student came into the van and noted that he did not obstruct traffic.

“I was waiting for the right away to come out of the gap, because traffic was moving.”

In the testimony of prosecution witness Shavar Maloney, a lecturer at the Community College, he told the court that while both men held onto each other’s shirt, he saw when Solomon attempted to place handcuffs around the wrist of Guy, but was unsucessful.

“The gentleman (Guy) resisted, at which point a man in plain clothes tried to assist the officer and was successful in getting one of the handcuffs on. The gentleman tried to hit the police officer and the officer hit him back.

Under cross-examination by Assistant Superintendent Glenford Gregg, when asked if he had just shown the officer his driver’s licence, if the incident could have been avoided, Guy replied “yes!”

Sergeant Avian Smith was the investigating officer in the matter. (KW)