The court has raised concern for what is being described as a lack of respect towards law enforcement officers, particularly cops who are expats.
Magistrate Shawn Innocent said many locals portray an attitude which suggests that a person who is not ‘from here’ cannot tell a person who was ‘born here’ what to do.
The magistrate, however, noted that ‘the law is the law’ and it must be upheld by all residents.
He raised the issue while fining a local man who reportedly belittled a female expat police officer last year.
The female officer testified in court on Friday that she feared for her life when she had pulled over 31-year-old Jerone Barnes during a routine traffic operation.
She said Barnes caused her much embarrassment on the day in question. She told the court that the offender invaded her personal space and was aggressive towards her.
“It drew stares from onlookers … his saliva from his mouth flew in my face. I was frightened for my safety. I was embarrassed. I felt insulted,” she said.
Barnes pleaded guilty to indecent language and was later convicted for other offences that he had pleaded not guilty to — assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and insulting language.
He was fined $150 for each of the four offences. Those fines, which amounted to $600, are to be paid in two months or Barnes will spend two weeks at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.
The court heard that on May 4 last year, the female police officer pulled over Barnes in the vicinity of the Althea Scatliffe Primary School in Road Town.
Barnes reportedly used obscenities towards the officer when she asked for his name.
He reportedly said: “You stupid mother s***t, you cannot read?”
He was referring to his license and registration documents which the cop had requested and was holding in her hands.
And while referring to the fact that the officer was not ‘born here’, Barnes reportedly told the cop: “You cannot tell me what the f*** to do.”
While later representing himself in court, Barnes claimed: “I figure I was being picked on [and] I started to get frustrated.”
Barnes continued to insist that he never used indecent language to the police officer. But, Magistrate Innocent said the offender’s demeanour in court indicated that the reports against him were true.
He then urged Barnes to ‘be nice’ and ‘learn to handle situations better’.
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