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Auto & Entertainment

Monday, July 13, 2020

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This is the third in a current affairs series by the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk focusing on people who are making the news.


ENTERTAINER Tommy Lee Sparta is again dominating the news and, like previous occasions, it's not for his music. He has been detained at the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay, St James, since last Tuesday as a person of interest.

Ernest “Ernie” Smith, attorney-at-law representing the Gothic dancehall deejay, says he's compiling a file against the Jamaica Constabulary Force for “unfairly targeting” his client.

“Unfortunately, it's the Jamaican taxpayers who will have to pay hundred of millions of dollars that this young man has been made to lose because of a police officer with a motive to destroy him,” he told the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.

“You can't just deprive a man of his liberty like that. They [the police] said they wanted him in Montego Bay for questioning because he is a person of interest. And then he goes there... and then say you're gonna detain the man under the state of emergency in Montego Bay, and where he was living there's no state of emergency. He has not been told of any criminal activity or any offence that he has committed. He not been told of any offence for which he is wanted...It's not right. It is not fair,” he continued.

Under the state of public emergency, a person can be held for 90 days without being charged.

Earlier last week Tommy Lee Sparta, given name Leroy Russell, was requested to report to the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay in relation to the upsurge in violence in the Flanker community of St James. He was given a Tuesday midday deadline.

The attorney bemoaned the lack of urgency by lawmen to interview his client, as only “one session” has commenced since his detention.

“There are seven days in every week and each day in the life of every man is important. An unlawful detention on a Sunday is as equally a detention as on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, or any other day,” said Smith.

This is not Tommy Lee Sparta's first brush with the law.

In 2014 he was arrested and charged for lottery scamming-related offences, after police raided a house in the Kingston 5 area believed to be occupied by the entertainer.

A laptop belonging to the deejay was also seized after it was reportedly found with personal information of several United States residents. He was, however, freed four years later.

That same year, he was denied entry to Dominica after arriving in that Caribbean island to perform at a concert. The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches said the artiste's appearance and music glorify Satan and promote lawlessness and violence. He was deported the following day.

In 2015 the Montego Bay police prevented him from performing on Reggae Sumfest for “fear of patrons' safety”.

The following year he was listed as a person of interest by detectives in the Kingston Eastern Division. At that time, it was in relation to a shooting incident on Saunders Avenue in the Kingston 2 section of the Corporate Area.

In 2017, Freeport Police Station requested that the entertainer turn himself in for questioning in relation to a shooting in the Flanker community during the Christmas holiday. He was cleared in both instances.

In March this year the deejay's six-year-old daughter was shot during an altercation among three men in Flanker. A nine-year-old boy was fatally shot in the incident.

A former member of Vybz Kartel's Portmore “Gaza” Empire, Tommy Lee Sparta got his musical break in 2012. He is known for songs including Spartan Soldier, Spartan Angel, Psycho and Rich Badness.

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