Businessman Leon “Bigger Bigs” Samuel is expected to know his fate next Wednesday as magistrate Carla James has reserved her verdict following a trial on four traffic offences ended at the Kingstown Magistrate on Wednesday.
On Sept. 17, Samuel was arrested while picketing outside the Methodist Building in Kingstown, which houses Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan’s office.
Police said he parked his motor vehicle, PR382, in a no-parking area and refused to move it when instructed to do so. He was taken to the Central Police Station where he was charged with failing to comply with a No Parking road sign; obstructing the free flow of traffic at Granby Street; failing to remove his motor vehicle, PR382, when instructed to do so, and deliberately allowing his motor vehicle to remain on the public road so as to cause an obstruction to traffic.
The prosecution, led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Glenford Gregg, called four witnesses, including traffic officer Sergeant Junior Nero, Constable Derrick Humphrey.
The witnesses testified that Samuel’s vehicle was parked at the area that was a no-parking zone and that it was obstructing other vehicles from passing. They said he was spoken to but he refused to remove the vehicle.
Samuel’s lawyers, Stanley “Stalky” John Q.C. and Akin John, made a submission of no-case but the magistrate over-ruled it, saying she found there was a case to answer.
Samuel, during his evidence-in-chief, said the purpose of his picket was to highlight the injustice of the shutting down of his multi-million dollar business in 2011, when authorities revoked his mining licence.
“They asked me to move and I responded to them that I was there picketing to get the attention of the Attorney General and I do not wish to move until I get the attention of the Attorney General,” Samuel told the court.
Samuel said there were three police officers and one of them asked him to give them the keys to his vehicle. He said that after he did not give the officer the keys, traffic officer sergeant Junior Nero told him if they arrested him then they would get the keys.
“He arrested me by putting me into the police vehicle. I co-operated and there was no hostility. They took me out of the vehicle and proceeded to search my pockets and they took the keys for the vehicle. They put me back into the vehicle and transported me to the barracks in their own vehicle,” he told the court.
When Samuel was cross-examined by the prosecutor, Samuel said he had driving experience of about 25 years. He said was familiar with most of the road signs. He said he saw similar signs — as the one outside the Methodist Building — around Kingstown and he observed that vehicles were usually parked there. He pointed out that there was one not too far away in the Long Wall area where former Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller’s, mother lived. He said Miller’s motor vehicle was often parked there.
He reiterated his statement when the prosecutor asked him about the former commissioner.
When the prosecutor asked him about his vehicle obstructing traffic, Samuel said that because of his frame of mind he was on that day he “couldn’t see” that he “was causing an obstruction.” He told the court he was not in an angry mood, when questioned.
He said persons could have passed where the vehicle was, but there was not enough space for a vehicle to pass.
“That day, my mind was set on getting the attention of people,” he told the court.
Asked if all he cared about at the time was getting people’s attention and that if it meant the world had to come to a stand still then so be it, Samuel said it was not that he did not care about people.
“The world did not come to a stand still. Persons were free to go where they wanted to,” Samuel said.
The Bigger Trucking and Block Construction Company’s CEO further said that the only person whose world came to a standstill at that time was he, because his liberty was restrained as he was not free to go where he wanted, having been in custody for about six hours.