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Sonnel tells court: ‘Everybody make mistake’

Sonnel Hanley. BVI News photo

Sonnel Hanley. BVI News photo

Sonnel Hanley, who has faced the court in at least his third case of randomly slapping a member of the public, has declared that everyone makes mistakes.

During his latest appearance before the Magistrate’s Court, Hanley, in a bid to get bail, expressed remorse for the recent offence of common assault committed against a male tourist.

“I just want to apologize to the court and the people dem… I won’t do it again,” declared Hanley, who authorities said does not have a fixed address. He is usually seen wandering around Road Town.

After noticing that Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste DaBreo did not appear convinced by his statement, Hanley further said: “Everybody make mistake.”

It seemed Magistrate Baptiste-DaBreo was still not convinced. “Those were the exact same words you said the last time,” she told Hanley.

The accused man’s utterance was not enough to persuade the court to grant him bail, but it may have moved a defence attorney who was in earshot.

Attorney-at-law Ruthlia Maximea spontaneously volunteered to represent him after he failed in his bid to secure bail.

Details regarding the case now before the court are that a male tourist and his wife were walking near the ferry terminal in Road Town on October 18 last year.

Hanley suddenly slapped the male visitor and accused him of looking at him, the prosecution claimed.

The visitor then reported the matter to the police.

Hanley is scheduled to return to court on February 17, pending receipt of a report on his mental health.

It is not the first time that Hanley has been hauled before the Magistrate’s Court for slapping people who are going about their business in the British Virgin Islands capital.

Coincidentally, one of his earlier victims was another male tourist. Hanley punched that tourist in the face near the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park in Road Town. In July 2012, then senior magistrate Valerie Stephens-Gordon sentenced him to six months imprisonment.

Meanwhile, in 2013, Hanley was back before the Magistrate’s Court after allegations surfaced that he slapped a female resident outside Bobby’s Supermarket in Road Town.

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