A 21-year-old Lowmans Leeward woman was on Tuesday reprimanded and discharged at the Serious Offences Court after pleading guilty to assaulting the manager of a “Chinese restaurant” in Kingstown.
Friekesha Douglas told Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias that she became upset when Jifen Chen, manager of Phoenix Restaurant on Lower Bay Street, Kingstown refused to pay her immediately after firing her on Jan. 13.
She told the magistrate that she was sorry for her action, and promised not to engage in that type of behavior again.
The court heard that Chen, the cashier at the restaurant, was at the cash register after firing Douglas around 4:15 p.m.
Douglas asked Chen to pay her before leaving the restaurant.
Chen told her to leave and return three days later, on Saturday — pay day, to collect the monies due to her.
The prosecutor told the court that Douglas became angry, pulled the key from the cash register, took up a slipper and began beating Chen.
The court heard that Douglas pushed Chen’s head against a wooden partition, causing injury to Chen’s nose, hand, and face.
A coworker pushed Douglas out of the restaurant, the court heard.
The matter was reported to the police, who took Douglas into custody on March 24 and charged her with assault and bodily harm.
She pleaded guilty when she appeared in court.
In mitigation, Douglas said she was already frustrated because at the end of the month she had to pay her rent and utility bills. She said she was expecting to be paid after being fired and, therefore, took matters into her hands when Chen refused to pay her immediately when she was dismissed.
She gave the magistrate the assurance that she would never be in court again to answer a charge.
The magistrate noted that the injury report that the doctor issued Chen detailed more of the injuries that she did not suffer rather than her actual injuries, which the magistrate said were superficial, and “really nothing to write home about”.
She further said that Douglas had a rightful expectation to be paid immediately after she was dismissed.
Douglas said that a co-worker had told her that Chen had said that she would not pay Douglas because they are friends.
The magistrate, however, countered that while an expectation of payment was due to Douglas, she wished that the former restaurant worker had not taken matters into her own hands.
The magistrate further said that it was difficult to exercise good judgment in such a case, and decided to reprimand and discharge Douglas.