Vulgar Prince
Judge scolds convicted gangster for urinating in a court
Convicted Klansman gangster Ted Prince is seen leaving the Supreme Court earlier this month. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)

TED Prince, alias Mawga Man, the belligerent convict who, while on trial for crimes committed by the notorious Klansman gang openly urinated in the centuries-old Supreme Court, was Thursday convicted of contempt of court by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, who denounced his action as "contemptuous".

Prince, whom Justice Sykes said was "not a dunce" or "a child", had, on February 28, climbed over a court bench, pulled his zipper and urinated in a corner of the exquisite old-world structure in full view of everyone in the court.

The chief justice, in handing down the last of the verdicts in the Klansman case on March 8, had summoned Prince to appear before him with an attorney to defend his actions.

Attorney Lynden Wellesley, who represented Prince on Thursday, told the trial judge that his client, on the day in question, spoke to the police officer manning the courtroom, indicating that he wanted to go to the restroom. He said Prince had also indicated that he was affected by the temperature in the air-conditioned room. According to the attorney, Prince was told by the policeman that in five minutes he would be able to relieve himself as the customary morning break was approaching. He said when that did not happen, it was no longer "humanly possible" for Prince to contain, hence his actions.

The chief justice, however, said Prince should have insisted to the officer that he could not wait, instead of choosing to relieve himself in the courtroom, noting that, "It was now at the point where the ball is in his court [but] this kind of self-help is not what we have in mind."

"Why didn't he insist and say that I need to go right now. Especially during the course of this case, we have had many instances that defendants indicated that they wanted to go to the bathroom," Justice Sykes said.

Wellesley, in admitting that, "on the face of it, it appears [uncouth]", urged the judge to be "compassionate".

Justice Sykes, responded, "I hear what you are saying. I don't know if I agree with you, but I understand what you are saying."

The chief justice, on ordering Prince to stand, said: "One of the things about the circumstances, Mr Prince, is this: Many persons, from time to time, have found themselves in similar circumstances, but I must confess that having listened to your attorney, the difficulty that I am having is this; you did speak with the police officer and the officer said to you the break is coming up. But the fact is, you are not a dunce, you are not a child, and as an adult you have the ability, as far as I am able to determine, to think and to speak."

The chief justice, in maintaining that he expected Prince as a "rational and reasonable adult" to insist that he needed to go, said he was certain if the defendant had impressed upon the officer that he needed to go he would not have been told "No, sit and wait."

"That has not been my experience in these courts," he said, noting that individuals have called for breaks to hydrate themselves, among other things.

"I am prepared to make the assumption that there was great urgency, but the question is, how is that resolved? Your resolution could not possibly, by any measure, be considered appropriate. You are not saying the officer was abusive or that the conduct of the police officer was such that you felt you were not to say another word," Justice Sykes said.

"I take the point that A/C may have exacerbated the situation, but there is a way to resolve it. So since we are all agreed that you urinated in the court and in contempt proceedings that is a criminal standard, and all the ingredients, to my mind, have been established. What your attorney has said and I listened to him carefully may go to the question of mitigation, but not to the question of whether contempt has been committed.

"The standard has been met… there is nothing to suggest that you were not able to continue to speak to the officer," the chief justice said, adding that Prince could have used five words in standard English to state his need or four if he chose to speak in patois, instead and say, "Mi haffi go now."

"So, Mr Prince, contempt has been established. I am satisfied that you are guilty of contempt. It is an unusual power given to a trial judge, not to protect his ego, but to protect the dignity of the court; urinating in a court by any measure is contemptuous behaviour, especially in circumstances where an avenue was available to you to impress upon the officer the gravity of the situation. This is not a heart attack [without warning]…you just closed off dialogue and acted…that kind of behaviour does not [belong] in a court," the chief justice said.

Prince will reappear before the chief justice on April 14 for the sentencing phase of the matter, while a social enquiry report was ordered for him.

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter

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