Pay court fines or face the consequences – Police
June 14, 2024

Pay court fines or face the consequences – Police

Persons who have been convicted of a crime and have had a fine imposed by the court are being warned to pay what they owe or run the risk of being hauled off to prison.

This warning was issued by law enforcement officers during a June 12 hosting

of Cop Chat on WEFM 99.9 on the topic, ‘Understanding Procedures In Policing – Summons And Warrants’.

Corporal, Kenroy Martin of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), during the discussion, detailed the categories of summons and warrants that are issued by the local courts.

Police officers, he explained, are responsible for the execution of warrants, most of which are dealt with at the Civil Court, and warrants related to the non-payment of fines is one which they frequently have to deal with.

“There are warrants that are issued in court; we have been having a lot of trouble with them, where the defendants have been found guilty and they have been fined, let’s say $2,000 to be paid by July 5, and they don’t pay it. Then there is a warrant issued for that person. Once the warrant has been issued [police] can go and pick you up and bring you to court because the judgment has passed… and you have to pay that fine.”

Corporal Martin added that the prison sentence does not free the person of the responsibility of having to pay the fine.

“Even if you are picked up and go to prison, you still have to pay that fine. That is a judgment debtor summons that takes you to court and you will have to pay the fine.”

A word of caution was also issued to persons who decide to leave the country without honouring the court fines. Corporal Martin warned that action can be taken against these ones as well.

“For those who are fined in court and think that they skip and go overseas, there is a warrant for you as well, called the Cephus Warrant. That can be issued to take you off of a plane or a boat for trying to get out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. For those persons who would have gone to court and had their fines to pay, sometimes the Magistrate doesn’t ask you for any travel documents, and they think they can leave the shores without paying the government or compensation; we have a warrant for you as well.”

Corporal Martin urged persons who have been mandated by the court to pay fines, not to wait until warrants have been issued to pay up.

“The procedure starts with a summons, then the warrants come in. If you make it go beyond that, this is where the warrants come in, where you have to be committed to what is being said to you by the court. So let us not get to that stage where the warrants are being issued. Let us stick to when the summons are issued.”