Marlon ‘Bush’ Wilkinson and lawyer Stephen Williams
From the Courts
March 11, 2022
Assault and obstruction of traffic Sergeant by ex-cop results in fine

A former policeman turned omnibus owner charged for obstructing and assaulting a traffic Sargeant by placing his hand on the Sargeant’s chest repeatedly, and tried to prevent the arrest of the driver of his bus has been fined $550.

Marlon ‘Bush’ Wilkinson of South Rivers, after changing his plea to guilty at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) on Tuesday is to pay the fine by March 31.

A trial into charges of assault and obstruction of Sergeant 444 Kenny Jones, “he being a police officer acting in the due execution of his duties”, had already been underway on Tuesday morning when the defence, represented by lawyer Stephen Williams changed course.

At that time Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett had already taken oral evidence from Prosecutor, Corporal Corlene Samuel’s witnesses – Sergeant Jones and a recruit who was present, now PC 1035 Haynes.

Therefore the court had already heard from Sergeant Jones that on the evening of July 31, 2020, he was on duty at Richmond Hill in the vicinity of Stop Light restaurant and he was dressed in uniform. Jones said that Haynes, who was also in uniform was regulating traffic.

The recruit told the Sergeant something about the driver of omnibus H8502 and pointed out the said omnibus to his superior. When Haynes gave evidence, he revealed that the driver told him he’s a recruit and to haul his c***.

The officers approached the omnibus and informed the driver of the offence of using indecent language and told him he was under arrest. They told him to step out of the omnibus, but the driver was reluctant to do so.

The owner of the omnibus, Wilkinson, arrived on scene and asked what happened, and Jones spoke to him concerning the driver.

Wilkinson apparently told them to move away from the van, and took his right hand and rested it on the Sergeant’s chest. He repeated the words and apparently commenting that no police were going to go by his van, said that he would take the driver to the station.

Jones said that he informed Wilkinson of the offence of assault and that the driver had to leave with the police.

Sergeant 444 Jones said that he asked the driver to step out, opened the door and the driver came out. He said that he held on to the driver’s hand but the owner held on to the driver and began pulling. Jones said he spoke to him several times but he continued to hold on. The Sergeant said the omnibus owner again put his hand on his chest and told them to leave the driver alone. The Sergeant explained that he spoke to the owner several times of the offence of assault.

In the end they placed Wilkinson under arrest for assault and obstruction and took him to the Criminal Investigations Department(CID) where the matter was reported.

Jones described Wilkinson’s behaviour as very aggressive and loud.

However, when the defence lawyer asked whether Wilkinson came to fight or inquire, the Sergeant concluded “well he was inquiring”.

Both prosecution witnesses acknowledged that while all of this was happening on July 31, Wilkinson was also telling the driver that if he cursed to the police he should apologise. Further, neither Haynes nor Jones described Wilkinson’s placing of his hand on the Sargeant’s chest as being with force.

The defence lawyer questioned PC 1035 Haynes about the officer showing spite to the driver because he was upset. “And you see the bus drivers and the police- is like Tom and Jerry, cat and mouse, not so?” he asked the officer, who responded no.

“So when you get a chance to squeeze a man, the man cuss ya, he tell ya haul ya stinking so and so. You say well okay you know what, your van full? park the van round by the station there. And sometimes y’all hold the van till all seven o’clock and the van driver just to spite him becah you know that’s the peak period,” the lawyer submitted in reference to what supposedly happened on that day.

Haynes denied it, pointing out that they had called for the police transport.

After the defence changed their plea to guilty, Williams mitigated on behalf of his client.

He told the magistrate that in hearing the evidence, “You had heard the officer Haynes said that when the defendant was telling his driver to apologise to the police at that time he had his hand touching Kenny, which I would say that, it was not intentional. It was not a chuck, to say that he chuck off Sergeant Jones.”

The magistrate agreed that both witnesses had been careful with their language.

The defence counsel told the magistrate, “You’re familiar with the van culture, you’re also familiar with the…31st July being an end of the month what happens on an end of month when it’s Friday…”

He described that there is a lot of confusion, Kingstown is full of people and it is when the vans make the most money.

“You would know that the police sometimes detain vans just as a punishment…” he said, commonly.

Williams commented “Sometimes when a man feels that his breadfruit tree is being threatened things get…” trailing off.

He said that his client is a former policeman and served in the British Navy before receiving a medical discharge.

The defence asked the court to be as lenient as possible and that the action of putting the hand by the chest was not in aggression.

A fine of $300 for the offence of obstruction was imposed, and a fine of $250 for the assault, or one month imprisonment if it is not paid. The sentences will to run concurrently.

Wilkinson asked that he be given until Monday but the court set the date for payment as March 31.