Regan Rodrigues, who was previously charged with the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, was yesterday jailed for three months for using threatening language to the slain man’s mother.
Rodrigues, 39, a father of three and taxi driver, of Riverview Sea dam, Ruimveldt, Georgetown, was found guilty of the offence by Magistrate Dylon Bess.
The court heard that on August 12, at Regent and Alexander Streets, Georgetown, Rodrigues threatened Donna Harcourt. He was first charged on September 28 and had been released on $10,000 bail pending trial.
During his ruling yesterday, Magistrate Bess told Rodrigues that after reviewing the evidence, the court believed that he used words of a threatening nature to the woman and that those words caused the woman to feel afraid.
Kaieteur News had previously reported that police had been looking for Rodrigues the same day he threatened the woman but were unable to find him.
Rodrigues threatened to “wipe out” Harcourt for accusing him of killing her son.
Harcourt had told Kaieteur News that Rodrigues made the threats to her while she was standing at her stall at Regent and Wellington Streets, Georgetown.
According to the woman, the incident was witnessed by several persons and she later made a report at the Brickdam Police Station.
Recalling the incident, Harcourt said that she was sitting at her stall with a friend around 10:00hrs on the day in question, when she heard someone shouting “Donna…Donna!” On turning, she said she saw Rodrigues and another man in a black Toyota Allion, which was parked a few feet away.
Harcourt said that Rodrigues came out of the vehicle and began threatening her.
“He said: ‘You been on TV saying that I kill yuh son…I is robber man (and) if I had the will I would wipe you out.” She stated that Rodrigues, who was wearing a pair of ‘black cut off pants and a vest’, eventually returned to the vehicle and drove away.
The Magistrate’s ruling did not go down too well with Rodrigues who continuously professed his innocence in a loud tone. The former murder accused admitted that he indeed use words to Harcourt, but they were in no way threatening.
According to him, he told Harcourt that she should desist from going to the media and accusing him of killing her son. He told Magistrate Bess that although the murder charge has been discharged against him, he has been finding it very difficult to secure employment.
He further told the court that he has had no other choice but to work taxi to support his three underage children. In begging the Magistrate to impose a fine upon him instead of a term of imprisonment, Rodrigues stated that he was never charged or convicted for any offence of a similar nature.
But the Magistrate maintained the custodial sentence, despite Rodrigues desperate pleas.
Initially, this matter was set for ruling on Monday. However, it was deferred until yesterday after the Magistrate announced that he recognised that the police had instituted the charge against Rodrigues under the wrong section of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 8:02, while he was compiling his ruling.
Rodrigues was charged under Section 141 (c) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Chapter 8:02 instead of Section 141 (a).
According to Section 141(c) Everyone who—“sends or delivers to any person any obscene writing print, engraving, picture, or other representation; or.”
Section 141 (a) states, Everyone who—“makes use of any threatening, abusive, insulting, or obscene language, gesture, or behaviours, or says or sings any insulting or offensive song or ballad, with intent to provoke anyone else to commit a breach of the peace, or whereby a breach of the peace maybe occasioned; or.”
Magistrate Bess had explained to Police Prosecutor Christopher Morris that it would have been fitting for Rodrigues to be charged under Section 141 (a) and not Section 141 (c).
In the circumstances, some issues had arisen as to whether the court had the power to amend the statement of offence (Section of the law under which the charge was filed).
Yesterday, Prosecutor Morris during a lengthy submission cited several cases on which the court has the jurisdiction to amend the statement of offence.
Magistrate Bess underscored that he was satisfied with the cases presented by Prosecutor Morris.
The Magistrate revealed that based on his own research he was satisfied that the court had the power to amend the statement of offence, given the fact that Rodrigues was not deceived in any way during the trial as to the allegation against him.
He explained to Rodrigues that amending the statement of offence would not be a source of bias to him.
Earlier this year, Rodrigues walked out the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court a free man, after a murder charge was discharged against him by Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman. It had been alleged that on March 10, 2015, at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, he murdered Courtney Crum-Ewing
Magistrate Latchman cited insufficient evidence when discharging the matter.
The bullet-riddled body of the 40-year-old Crum-Ewing was found at Third Avenue, Diamond New Scheme, East Bank Demerara, on the aforementioned date.
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