The Troumaca/Chester Cottage man who was, on Nov. 30, slapped with seven charges in connection with the shooting of three people in Byera has been spared prison time for breaching a curfew imposed on him as part of his bail.
Rolando “Street Law” Samuel, a 36-year-old labourer, appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court, in Kingstown, on Dec. 19, and pleaded guilty to a charge that on Dec. 16, at Chester Cottage, he wilfully disobeyed a court order made by Browne at Serious Offences Court on Nov. 30, 2022.
Browne adjourned and transferred the matter to the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court for the hearing of the facts and sentencing the following day.
The facts of the case are that on Dec. 17, about 9:15 p.m., police officers from the Georgetown Police Station were on mobile patrol about the district.
In Chester Cottage, they saw a small crowd near Adam’s Bar, and Police Constable 781 Patrick, who was heading the unit, and the other officers went to the area of the bar.
There, Patrick saw Samuel at a table near a laptop and he appeared to be the deejay.
Patrick knows Samuel well and that he had been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting and that as part of his bail, he was to observe a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
The officer asked Samuel what he was doing at the bar at that time.
Samuel responded, “Me just come over yah fuh get something fu eat; me hungry man.”
The defendant was arrested and taken to the Georgetown Police Station, where Corporal 664 Wright cautioned him the following day in the presence of PC 360 Craigg.
Samuel did not volunteer a statement, telling the officer that he would explain himself to the magistrate.
He, however, stated, “Man, me been hungry. Me been Customs whole day fuh clear barrel and come home later. So, me been fuh look fuh some fried chicken and been waiting for e bartender. That’s when the police came.”
Samuel maintained his story before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett.
Corporal Delando Charles, the prosecutor, asked the court to use a prison sentence to highlight the seriousness of breaching a court order.
In handing down his sentence, Burnett said that when a court grants bail, the court expects all the conditions must be obeyed.
“I have listened to the explanation even to you. I am not God to know if you are speaking the truth. But because of that, I’m not going to impose a custodial sentence,” Burnett said.
He imposed a fine of EC$1,500, adding, “I will give you an opportunity to pay it.”
Samuel told the court he has “some stuff in the Customs to clear and will hustle them fast and pay the fine”.
“I am going to give you three months to pay that fine,” Burnett said and ordered Samuel to pay the fine by March 31, 2023 or go to prison for nine months.
“When the court says that you have to be in by a certain time, you have to be in,” he told Samuel.
The defendant said it was because he was hungry why he had gone outside.
“If I had known, I would have just go to bed like that. I am being honest,” Samuel said.
Samuel is slated to return to court on Jan. 23, 2023 in connection with indictable charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and eight rounds of ammunition; possession of firearm with intent to endanger life; and three counts of unlawfully and maliciously wounding.
At his arraignment in Novmeber, the chief magistrate set his bail at EC$20,000 with one surety and ordered him to have no contact with the virtual complainant.
He is to report to Rose Hall Police Station on Mondays and Thursdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and observe a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.