Inside The Courts: Woman drops assault case against lover via WhatsApp

A man accused of assaulting his girlfriend walked out of the St James Parish Court on Friday after the complainant chose to drop the case via WhatsApp.

Anroy Dawkins of Piggott Street, Mount Salem, appeared before presiding parish judge Sasha-Marie Smith-Ashley, charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

The complainant was not present at Friday's hearing to state her position on the matter. The clerk of court, however, informed the court that she had sent a WhatsApp message suggesting that she was no longer interested in continuing the case.

In light of what the clerk said, the judge instructed him to print the text and place it on the prosecution's case file for formality.

The prosecution offered no evidence in the case and the judge told Dawkins that he was free to go.

"Don't let me see you back here again…Behave yourself," the judge told Dawkins before he was allowed to leave the courtroom.

Restorative justice for man who allegedly chops woman

A man accused of wounding a woman had his case referred to restorative justice following his appearance in the St James Parish Court on Friday.

Cleveland Reid, who is represented by attorney-at-law Henry McCurdy, is charged with unlawful wounding.

The case had been referred to restorative justice on the previous mention date, but the court was informed on Friday that the process had not been completed because there were still unresolved issues.

As a result, Judge Sasha-Marie Smith-Ashley instructed the parties to go back to the restorative justice unit and return to court on April 18.

Reid's bail was extended.

The date of the incident was not disclosed, but according to the allegations, Reid had gone to the complainant's shop and placed an order.

While the complainant was trying to retrieve what he had ordered, Reid allegedly chopped her on her arm.

Argument over ackee turns violent

A man accused of chopping another man in the head was ordered to return to restorative justice following his appearance in the St James Parish Court on Friday.

Ricardo Ellis appeared before presiding parish judge Sasha-Marie Smith-Ashley, charged with unlawful wounding.

The court was told on Friday, that the men, who had attended restorative justice, had not yet reached an agreement and that the restorative justice unit's office was requesting more time.

Judge Smith-Ashley then rescheduled the matter for May 5 and instructed the pair to return to the restorative justice unit to further discuss their issues, and, hopefully, reach an agreement.

According to the allegations, on January 6, about 6:00 pm in Providence Heights, the complainant was picking ackee from a tree that Ellis had cut down.

An argument developed, and Ellis used a machete to chop the complainant in the head.

Drug smuggling, money laundering trial delayed

The trial of four businessmen who are accused of being major players in a drug smuggling and money laundering ring between Jamaica and the United States has been delayed.

The trial of Robert Dunbar, Delroy Gayle, and Louis Smith, all of Montego Bay addresses, and United States citizen Melford Daley, was slated for continuation in the St James Parish Court on Friday.

The hearing, however, was unable to begin because the judge in charge of the case was unavailable.

A new trial date was set for May 12. Bail was extended for all.

The four men are being represented by attorneys-at-law Hugh Wildman, Tom Tavares Finson, Martyn Thomas, and Oswest Senior-Smith, respectively.

When the trial began in the St James Parish Court in September 2019 before Parish Judge Sandria Wong Small, Wildman filed a request to have it discontinued on the grounds that the charge was unconstitutional because it was brought under the repealed Money Laundering Act of 1998, which was replaced by the Proceeds of Crime Act in May 2007.

But the application was refused and the trial continued.

Wildman then petitioned the Supreme Court for a judicial review that same month, and Justice Courtney Daye granted an order stopping the trial until the application was heard.

The order was issued by the Supreme Court after Christopher Drummond, a key prosecution witness who is currently serving a 27-year prison sentence in the United States for drug smuggling, testified against the four.

In February 2020 the Supreme Court, through presiding High Court Justice Simone Wolfe-Reece, denied an application made on Smith's behalf by Wildman in which the defendant sought a declaration from the court that the commencement of criminal proceedings against him was null, void, and of no effect. The judge's decision cleared the path for the trial to resume in the St James Parish Court.

The allegations against the men are that they were involved in drug trafficking between Jamaica and the United States between 1999 and 2005.

Dunbar, Gayle, and Smith were arrested on August 30, 2013 during simultaneous raids at their respective residences by officers from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, who worked in collaboration with the Financial Investigations Division. Subsequent investigations led to charges being levelled against Daley.

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