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.