A court ruling on Tuesday, August 30 at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court saw a 20-year-old man owing an $800,000 fine in restitution after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his 17-year-old girlfriend. Along with the charges of assault, the accused (whose identity will not be revealed to protect the complainant) was also charged with unlawful wounding.
The court heard that the incident took place at the complainant’s home after the boyfriend heard her speaking on the phone with someone. He demanded to know who was on the phone, followed her out to the veranda, and slammed her into the grill. He then kicked her in the face, resulting in a cut above the eye which the accused denied.
The girlfriend explained to the court that he was asked to collect his clothes from the house because of existing tensions. The Senior Parish Judge, Lori-Ann Cole-Montague said, “So you were going after a fruit before it did ripe,” after learning they started dating when the girl was 16. Speaking on a previous incident, she recounted that he had shouted at her and called her a whore and a run-around where other people could have overheard them.
Defending himself, the man told the judge that her friend threatened him during a phone call stating, “him a go pull up on me and weh him a go do to me.” Incredulous, Cole-Montague asked, “The friend tell you that and you lash out on her?”
Cole-Montague was told by the accused that he is employed as an engineer at a shop when addressed. He was then ordered to leave the girl alone to which he replied that he has not seen her since the incident happened. The judge said that this was because he is in custody and will remain so for some time. Cole-Montague expressed, “There are some traumas that a 17-year-old should not have encountered at all.”
Turning to the mother, the judge asked, “What do you know about this young man, mother?” The mother replied, “Miss, mi [tell her] nuh go deh so,” because the situation was causing her stress.
Cole-Montague stated that this was a lesson learned and although she does not judge youngsters and their relationships, wisdom must always be used in order to void violent situations. The girl recounted another incident where she was at his home, which escalated into accusations of cheating and him ripping her clothes and attempting to throw her out of the house. The crying girl was told not to continue recounting the incident, and the mother was asked to comfort her.
It was also disclosed that the father of the accused made contact with the complainant to get her to drop the charges in exchange for a laptop and a full scholarship to pursue her studies. The judge stated that she does not know of a full scholarship that is capped at under 1 million dollars, but the accused said he was still willing to pay.
An attorney rose to the plight of the accused and offered pro-bono counsel. The attorney stated that both the accused and complainant could attend mediation and asked for leniency in the form of a bail offer as the accused is still young himself and it was the first offense.
The request was denied but the amount to be paid was reduced to $800,000 and the accused asked to pay the girl’s counselling fees.
The accused will return to court on October 24 when the community report is completed and Cole-Montague said the time he spends in remand, “will be part of his sentence.” A fingerprint order was also issued.