THE COURT ISSUED a stern word and a hefty monetary penalty to three evacuees responsible for beating up another evacuee who they speculated was guilty of attempting to assault a female family member.
“Let’s assume that he did something wrong okay? Let’s assume that what he did to (the female individual) was wrong, who you think should deal with that?” Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett asked defendant Reynold Bowens at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) on Friday.
The 53-year-old fisherman of Fancy responded that it was the police.
The magistrate also asked similar questions of defendants: 39-yearold farmer/labourer Eli Bowens, and 24-year-old labourer/farmer Kimron Rogers.
Eli responded that “the officer” should, and Rogers intoned that the police who responded to the incident had told them that they should have reported the incident to the “lady downstairs” (presumably security).
The three men appeared at the KMC charged with the offence of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Emenzen Peters of Georgetown on May 10, at Calliaqua.
The victim in the matter was an evacuee staying at the Calliaqua Anglican School along with other evacuees from Fancy and Sandy Bay. Early on the morning of the said date, Peters left the shelter in the company of a female evacuee. They went to a nearby beach, and then later returned to the shelter. Peters journeyed to Kingstown, and did not return to the shelter until around 10:20pm where he met the three defendants. They accused him of trying to sexually assault the female at the beach earlier, and began to beat him about his body.
The Georgetown resident has injuries to the right eyebrow, an eye injury, and contusions to his right cheek, upper and lower jaw, among other injuries. The magistrate noted that the medical personnel referred to the victim as having “significant injuries” .
In the discussions of the court, it came to light that the female involved in the incident and the male who the defendants accused, both have mental challenges.
When asked for the reason they beat up the individual, Reynold relayed the story he had been told about when the female went to the beach,the argument in the shelter that had resulted from this,and the beating that followed. All defendants are related to each other and the female.
Eli relayed that he had been eating on that night, after not having seen his female relative all day. He heard the loud voice of his relatives, and after seeing another relative go to the room, he heard more noise. He reiterated there was “real noise” inside. When he went inside, he was told to come, and another man was asking “wey you do the lady” to another, and the female was crying. Peter supposedly wouldn’t answer Eli when asked what he did to the female, and Eli ended up hitting him with his fist.
Kimron also spoke about an argument, but noted the situation changed and evolved to a “little beating up, little fighting up”, and he ran and gave the man one box.
When asked to weigh in on the matter, Prosecutor Sergeant Cornelius Tittle revised what Reynold had stated: that the male victim had taken off his shirt to go into the water at the beach, and the female had run.
“She saw somebody close by and she explained the situation, and it’s that person who suggested and said you nah see like the man wanted to rape you,” the prosecutor said. No one verified anything, he commented.
“How you could do that?” the magistrate asked.
“That’s completely unacceptable,” the sergeant said.
Addressing the trio at one point, the judicial officer said, “I would not want to live in a St Vincent and the Grenadines where if something is done by someone, that anybody could just settle it anyhow.”
“That’s what you all did. Instead of allowing the system to take care of Emenzen if an offence was committed…I mean
three of you just take the matter in your hands and just deal with him,” Burnett said.
“There is no part of the world that can happen. You could say what you want about St Vincent and the Grenadines, but we have a system in place to take care of law and order; and this is a law and order question.”
Reynold said he wanted to ask “one question”, and asked if the man had raped and killed the female, whether the police wouldn’t have come to them to question them.
“…The police would have investigated the matter and that’s the system that we have in place. To the best of my knowledge Reynold Bowens, Eli Bowens and Kimron Rodgers are not police officers,” the magistrate replied.
“I understand” he replied.
“So what you all did was totally wrong,” Burnett said incredulously.
They noted that this is why they said they were guilty.
He pointed out that they could have killed the victim.
“The only reason you see I lash the guy becah I don’t really tolerate violence against women y’know” one of the defendants commented.
“…things must be done based on what is proper, what is decent and what is right. It cannot be a case of violence against women, and three of you feel that because it was deemed to be violence against women, that the three of you could deal with the matter,” Burnett told him.
When the discussion came to the matter of compensation, Reynold said that if he were asked to pay a sum, being a fisherman, if he is given time, he will “surely pay it”.
Eli said he was supposed to receive money working on the road in Calliaqua, and Kimron said he would, because he recently got a job.
The magistrate ordered $2500 compensation to the victim, to be paid by each of the defendants.
They must all pay the sum by October 29, or spend six months in prison. The defendants seemed to want to alter these terms, but Burnett commented: “You could have been in jail right now, so stop that eh, because the alternative is jail.”
“You work hard find the money and pay, allyuh nearly kill the man,” he commented.
They were also placed on a bond in the sum of $2500. If they do not keep the peace for one year, and they cannot pay the sum, they will spend nine months in jail.
When greeted with the media outside, two of the defendants insisted that they were not bad people.