A police officer escorts Hezekiah Naphtali from the Serious Offences Court on Nov. 28, when he was sent for psychiatric evaluation. The Mental Health Centre says he is not fit to plead in the case. (iWN photo)

A St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) national who says he cannot be made to appear before a court in the country because he is “sovereign” has been sent for a psychiatric evaluation for the second time this year in connection with the same traffic offences.

The man, Hezekiah Naphtali, of Kingstown, further told the Serious Offences Court on Wednesday, that appearing before a court in SVG is a violation of his indigenous rights, as SVG is “a colony”.

Naphtali is charged that on July 28, 2018 at the Grenadines Wharf in Kingstown, being the driver of motor vehicle PD139, he did use the vehicle without the relevant licence in respect of the said vehicle for the period April 1 to Sept. 31, 2018.

He was further charged that on the same date and place, he used the same vehicle without there being in force a policy of insurance in respect of third party risk in respect of the said vehicle.

A third charge was that Naphtali, did drive the said vehicle without being the holder of a driving permit.

Naphtali was first arraigned before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court in July.

During his arraignment, he made similar claims to those that he made last Wednesday at the Serious Offences Court, to which the matter was transferred.

“You are sovereign, so you cannot be tried in your court? This is your court? Another thing, if you want to comply by your Moorish doctrine, as stated here, you are not to participate in anything of this state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Chief magistrate Rechanne Browne told Naphtali.

The chief magistrate had decided to hear the man although he had refused for some time to remove his headwear, in keeping with the court rule.

“St. Vincent is a colony,” the defendant responded.

“So driving the vehicle—” the chief magistrate began to say, when Naphtali responded,  “I don’t drive, I travel for my convenience—”.

“Not in a registered vehicle, PD139,” Browne commented.

“Objection!” Naphtali shouted.

“You pleaded not guilty,” the chief magistrate told the defendant, then proceed to ask the traffic officer if he was ready to proceed with the matter.

“Objection!” Naphtali shouted again.

“Wait a minute,” the chief magistrate told the defendant.

“No, I have a right to speak,” Naphtali replied.

The magistrate then noted to Naphtali that he had pleaded not guilty to the charges and that was reflected in the court document.

She further told him the court was going to put structures in place for the hearing of the charges.

Naphtali responded:  “There will be no hearing. Objection! That’s a violation of my rights as the Constitution states.”

The magistrate then threatened to remand the man in custody until the matter is heard.

“You’ll remand me on my rights, constitutionally?” the defendant responded.

“Well, you will take it up constitutionally pursuant to your law,” the chief magistrate told him.

Naphtali then told the chief magistrate: “It’s the constitution you are violating, or rather, misdemeanour.”

At this point, the magistrate asked the prosecution if they were ready to proceed with the matter.

The defendant then attempted to say something and the magistrate told him that he should not interrupt when someone is speaking and that is basic manners.

“Objection to that! You have to prove jurisdiction in every case.”

“You ain’t prove yours, based on this,” the chief magistrate told the man, referring to his “Moorish doctrine” which Naphtali had submitted to the court in an attempt to prove his sovereignty.

He, however, maintained that he had done so, saying he has his “indigenous ID”.

“I am going to send him for a psychiatric report,” the magistrate then told the prosecution.

“That already done already. I am not psychiatric.”

“Well, I want it in my court,” the chief magistrate said as Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that that is what he was going to recommend.

Naphtali, however, told the chief magistrate that she couldn’t send him for a psychiatric report, “when yuh done violate my rights. There’s evidence of that.”

“Your honour, this is an illegal process that you are doing. There has been an evaluation illegally done and it’s been proved that I am not psychiatric. I am standing up for my rights, which are being violated,” Naphtali protested.

The chief magistrate, however, said that she does not see that proof but sees some papers “that have no legal weight”.

“In this constitution, –”

“Of which state?” the chief magistrate asked.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, section 23–”.

“So, are you complaint with the constitution?”

“Section 13,–” the defendant was saying as the magistrate read out her order that he be remanded until Dec. 14 and that a psychiatric report be presented to the court by Dec. 12.

“How I could be remanded? This is a violation of my right,” Naphtali said as he was escorted from the courtroom.

11 replies on “Court sends ‘sovereign’ man for psychiatric evaluation ”

  1. A sad case of ganja induced psychosis; possibly a case of illusions of impressiveness and awesomeness? or is it just plain ole ism and schism at work here wanting to give Rasta a black eye? 🙂

    1. But seriously, why did the defendant not have a lawyer? Didn’t he have the right to one under the constitution? I don’t know much about modern rasta vernacular. Could it be that he was not properly understood? Maybe, what is needed here is a translator. This could be a big misunderstanding.

  2. Why am I smiling after reading this news article? The magistrate, in my opinion, would’ve exercised some courteous patience with the gentleman by entertaining him and even responding sarcastically to some of his queer utterances knowing fully what she had in store for him in the end. I’m now lmao!

      1. R, it has nothing to do with the offence but if you have frequent courts, this dialogue would not have gone on so long. I know of many Magistrates in the past that would have shut down this defendant ab initio. The Chief Magistrate based on this reporting allowed the man to have his say etc. in the manner that he did for a long time. I can tell you this is rare!!!

        My initial comment was sarcasm based on the facts of Mr. Chance’s article or did you miss that?

  3. Rawlston Pompey says:

    MONTH FOR TRIAL AND EVALUATION

    There might be some confusion.

    Remand is usually within the confines of the Prison, whereas for ‘….psychiatric evaluation,’ the person is ordered to a psychiatric institution (here at Glenn).

    Simply put, the latter is usually ordered to be under the observation of those whose practice is psychiatry. Prison Superintendents have not the expertise to guide a Court on ‘…mental or behavioral issues.’

    Though she had not claimed ‘…sovereignty or made claims of rights violations and constitutionality,’ the case of fashion/model Yugge Farrell and several others makes the point.

    Interestingly, that case was adjourned to come up for hearing this month December 17, 2018 [Caribbean News Now: January 5, 2018].

    Even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have a story.’

    Though not exactly what was often heard in Court, it was obvious that the defendant had a well-formed belief that

    (a) he was ‘…sovereign’ and that he could do no wrong;

    (b) … that whatever he may have conceived and believed this to mean, he has immunity as he can do no
    wrong; and

    (c) …he can also suffer no consequences.’

    Whatever he had conceived and/or believed, he spoke to ‘…rights and constitutionality.’

    Two things were quite evident

    (i) …the defendant was respectful to the Chief Magistrate; (ii) …there was no hostility by the Bench.

    By the prolonged interaction the Court wanted to be sure how best it could help the defendant with some understanding of reality and what was to have transpired.

    He had said enough to convince the Chief Magistrate that he was far removed from reality.

    The right course of action was prudently considered.

    1. I like the way these points are laid out. You sort of took me back to the classroom in school with the way you structure your pieces _ … Lol. Very good!

      When I read the points you quoted as per (a) to (c), it makes me wonder what could’ve caused a person to have derived with those thoughts/beliefs. Do they read or study literature of some sort that we are unaware of?

  4. When none-enlightened people do t understand an issue, that includes the Majistrate, you call for psychiatric evaluation. If you all take some time to understand this man’s point of view, you would not consider him crazy or in need of psychiatric help. I see this brother as very brilliant in standing up for something he believes in. Too bad the state and people don’t know enough about indigenous rights to comprehend his position. He needs to be understood and dealt with respect to his position.

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