The duo charged with trespassing on the Community College’s Glen Campus and assaulting a student there has been found guilty.
For their crimes, the duo, Jardel Williams, 22, of Brighton, and Tameka Erescia Phillips , 29, of Ottley Hall, will have to keep the peace for the next year.
If she breaches her bond, Phillips, who has a previous conviction, would have to pay EC$2,000 or go to prison for six months.
Williams, who has a previously clean record, was bonded in the sum of EC$1,500.
If in breach of the bond, he must pay the sum forthwith or spend three months in prison.
“I have looked at the role of both parties in this matter and the sentences reflect that,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett said at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 1, when he also announced his guilty verdict.
They were found guilty of charges that on March 9, 2022, they did enter upon the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College in Glen, to wit its yard, with intent to commit an offence and that they assaulted Romell Gibson, a then 18-year-old student, of Chester Cottage, causing actual bodily harm.
Before handing down the guilty verdict, Burnett noted that during the trial – which ended on Feb. 17, the prosecution tendered in evidence caution statements that the defendants gave while in police custody.
He said that the prosecution had invited the court to look at those and to see whether what was said by then was the truth or what the defendant said on oath during the trial.
Essentially, the question that the court was pondering was whether the duo had gone to the post-secondary institution to take money to Williams’ girlfriend, Romyah Cornwall, 18, who is also Phillip’s close friend and Gibson’s classmate, or whether they went to the campus to confront Gibson.
“Having accessed the evidence in the matter and having had a chance to look at the footage that was shown in this case as well, one would conclude that the footage did not capture everything but it showed enough for me to conclude what happened.”
The magistrate said he looked at the footage and considered the answers that the defendants gave during cross examination.
He looked at the footage and the answers given in cross examination, adding that he was of the view that the evidence proved the prosecution’s case beyond reasonable doubt.
“… what the defendants did was not permissible in law. We have a legal system. We have certain things we do as a society but we cannot allow what was done by the two defendants to pass as how we do things as a developed society,” Burnett said.
“There are laws to take care of everything. What the defendants did was wrong.”
In mitigation, the defendants’ lawyer, Grant Connell told the court that he did not think that there would be an appeal in the matter.
He noted that Williams has no previous conviction and worked previously in construction and baking and selling bread.
He said the defendant has no children and is remorseful for his actions.
“You have seen this case, you have seen the video, you have heard the evidence. There was a high level of provocation,” the lawyer said, adding that his client throws himself at the mercy of the court and begs for mercy.
“You heard in the evidence in this case that young man (Williams) went to school and he had interaction with this young man (Gibson). You also heard in this court from a young lady who told you in no uncertain terms what was done to her,” Connell said, referring to Cornwall’s claims that Gibson has touched her breasts and buttocks
“That issue was brought out in this case and I may quote you. We have a legal system. We cannot allow what was done by the defendants. But you heard evidence of a man indecently assaulting a woman, a report was made to the police and a year has passed and the file went to the DPP and nothing was done. Same legal system,” Connell said.
The magistrate said this did not mean that the defendants were permitted to do what they did.
The lawyer said he was not saying that two wrongs make a right but that he was commenting on the same legal system.
“The question was asked, ‘Why didn’t you go to the police?’ Well, they did, albeit after. I’d say with no second thoughts that the police station, the analogy can be made of it being the accident and emergency ward of justice,” Connell said.
“So, like the hospital, when you go to the hospital and you are bleeding, the first interaction with the doctor, if they don’t deal with the injury there and then and they say sit and wait, wait for the surgeon to go and deal with it, the surgeon can’t raise the dead.”
He said that similarly, in the police station, when a report is made “about his action” or about Gibson’s actions of having brass knuckles in school…”
Connell said brass knuckles are an offensive weapon, adding, “and a legal system does nothing, you ask yourself when the legal injury is created at the police station, how do we fix it.
“Can it be fixed? Can the legal surgeon higher up address it or does justice go begging? … on the next occasion it will not be something more serious.”
The lawyer said that Phillips has a previous conviction. He asked the court to impose a bond on both defendants.
The prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police, Corlene Samuel did not object to bond for Williams but asked for a bond and a fine for Phillips.
“Fine someone with little or no means?” the lawyer asked and told the court that Phillips makes about EC$350 a month.
After handing down the sentence, the magistrate said that during the trial and even at the sentencing, he had been looking at Gibson.
“Are you OK, Mr. Gibson?” Burnett said.
“Yes, I’m fine,” the virtual complainant said.
“The case is at an end, both defendants have been convicted. The three of you are young people,” the senior magistrate said.