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Don't pray to anyone, judge tells Christian

Covering the Courts

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Sunday Observer reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 23, 2013    

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A Christian man accused of raping a teenager during a prayer meeting, and four alleged hydroponic ganja farmers who are charged with cultivating marijuana in a church-owned dwelling house with stolen electricity, were among the cases which highlighted last week's proceedings in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

The self-professed Christian, who reportedly raped a 13-year-old girl, was sternly warned by the judge not to go to anyone's house to pray.

The man, who was offered $150,000 bail, was also warned as a condition of his bail, not to be in the presence of young people unless he is supervised.

The incident reportedly occurred over a year ago, but the matter was recently reported and the accused was charged.

On Tuesday when the man appeared in court, he was asked by Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey if he is still a Christian and he answered by nodding his head.

"I sincerely hope you don't go to anybody house to pray with them," Pusey then said to him. "I am not joking, cause even the devil can cite scriptures to suit himself."

"And the Bible says in the last days, many will come calling my name saying I am Christ and shall deceive many," the magistrate continued before admonishing the accused once more, not to offer to pray with anyone at their home.

The accused is scheduled to return to court in September for a preliminary hearing.

Hydroponic farmers denied bail

Four people who were arrested in connection with a recent hydroponic ganja farm bust at a house on Old Stony Hill, St Andrew also appeared before the court, but were denied bail.

The accused, a common-law couple, Eka Mason, 31, hairdresser, Andrew Richards, 36, musician, and two brother, Sean, 32 and Andrew Blake, 28, were arrested and charged with possession of, dealing in, cultivating and using premises for the storage of ganja, following a police operation on June 12.

The four were also charged with abstracting electricity and trespassing on the works of the Jamaica Public Service Company.

The court heard that a police party swooped down on the seven-bedroom, two-storey house after receiving intelligence, and discovered the hydroponic ganja farm, the first of its kind in the island. Hydroponic is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil.

Police said 195 plastic pots with fully grown weed, a suitcase containing vegetable matter believed to be ganja, several 1000 watts bulbs, a portable air-conditioning unit, vehicles, documents, computers and cellular phones were reportedly found at the house, which is owned by the Jamaica Baptist Union.

The court, however, was told that the property was rented by Sean Blake and occupied by Andrew Blake.

On Tuesday, the attorney representing the four tried to persuade Pusey to admit their clients to bail, claiming that they were clueless about the high-tech farm.

The attorney representing both brothers stressed that they still lived with their father at Benson Terrace in Kingston, and that Sean had sublet the place to an individual called Solomon McPherson.

The attorney representing the couple insisted that they lived with their children.

The court was however told that the brothers' belongings were found at the premises and that Andrew had a Miami driver's licence and that he comes to Jamaica every three months.

However, Pusey said that she was not satisfied with the accused persons' fixed place of abode, and remanded them into custody.

They are scheduled to return court on July 18.

Cabbie and passenger war over rubbish

A taximan and a passenger, who ended up in a fight after the passenger got upset with the driver for throwing a juice bag out the window of the car and walked out of the taxi, were both hauled before the court for assaulting each other.

The passenger, Basil Trevelen, who is a chef of Church Street in downtown Kingston, appeared in court on a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, while the driver, Max Walker of Orange Street in downtown Kingston appeared on a charge of assault at common law.

According to Trevelen, he took Walker's taxi in downtown Kingston to go to Bull Bay. But he said that Walker drove into a gas station to get petrol and while he was there, he threw the empty sorrel juice bag on the ground.

"Your Honour, I said to him: "Big man how you so nasty you nuh see the place clean' and him say to me 'nuh watch dat, people get pay fi clean it."

Trevelen said that he was so disgusted by the driver's action that he got out of the car.

But while he was leaving, he said that the driver said to him: "Hey bwoy nuh drive out mi gas an nuh pay me".

Trevelen said that he then went to a nearby bus stop and the driver drove up to him and exited his car with a pickaxe and he in turn picked up a little stone.

"Why would you pick up a small stone?" Pusey interjected.

"A dat me cud a find," he answered.

In continuing, Trevelen told the court that Walker hit him with the tool.

But Walker denied hitting him, while admitting that he punched Trevelen in his chest after he used the stone to hit him on his hand.

Pusey, after listening to both men, sentenced them to 200 hours of community service to clean up the Central Police Station in downtown Kingston.

"A lot of cleaning up needed down a Central and like how you so clean, you going to teach your friend," Pusey said to Trevelen.

Dishonest taxi driver escapes prison sentence

Another taxi driver who stole car tyres and tools from a car which he was given to drive and used them to fix his car, also appeared before the court.

However, the taxi driver, Richard Nembhard, now has to be on his best behaviour for the next two years, after he was given a six-month suspended sentence.

The sentence which is suspended for two years, means that if he gets into trouble with the law within the next two years, he will have to serve six months.

Nembhard was sentenced by Senior Magistrate Pusey after he pleaded guilty to simple larceny, although he denied stealing the items.

"So that you don't go crazy and try this again, I am going to give you six months, suspended for two years," Pusey told Nembhard.

The court heard that he was employed by the complainant to drive her car. However, he went behind the complainant's back and stole two tyres, lug tools and a car jack from the vehicle.

The items were valued at approximately $25,000.

However, before Nembhard was sentenced, he reimbursed the complainant.

Car thief gets three years in prison

A convicted car thief got three years in prison after he begged the magistrate for leniency for stealing yet another car.

The grey-haired ex-convict, Aldarman Halstead, was arrested on June 10 after he went to Winchester Business Centre on Hope Road in Kingston and drove away a woman's Nissan motor car.

"How many time you go to prison for this," Pusey asked.

"About eight times," Halstead answered.

"So what about the other car that they charged you for," Pusey said in reference to another car that he is accused of stealing from Eureka Road in Kingston.

"I don't know nothing about that one, but I am asking for your leniency and favour for even once in my life," Halstead said to Pusey.

"Maybe I should make it very memorable and give you three years," Pusey said.

"Even two," Halstead said.

But Pusey insisted and gave him three years.

"This one you caught with your hands right inside the jar and we have to cut it off inside there," Pusey said after handing down the sentence.

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