By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- Last week Patrick Howell Junior of Cane Garden was remanded to prison, accused of beating and using indecent and threatening language to Constable Kevon Charles who is a member of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
After spending one week remanded in prison, Howell re-appeared before the District ‘C’ Magistrates Court on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 to answer charges against him.
The Prosecution called its first witness to the stand, Constable Kevon Charles.
Officer Charles stated that on the day in question he was on foot patrol on duty along with Constable Derell Boon. Charles said he attempted to enter the ‘Tea House Chinese Restaurant’ in Charlestown but was unable to enter because persons were sitting and standing on both sides of the stairway. The officer further stated that he noticed Howell sitting at the bottom of the steps. He said he identified himself and asked Howell to get up from the steps so that persons could go in and out of the restaurant freely.
Here, the officer said Howell stated “I ain’t no f***ing punk”. Constable Charles said he then got suspicious and told Howell that he would conduct a search on him. He said Howell was wearing a black knapsack on his back. Charles said he asked Howell to remove the bag and in the process Howell swung the bag, hitting him in his chest with the bag and his right hand.
He said that this is when Constable Boon assisted him to subdue Howell. He then told the defendant that he was under arrest for beating. While walking to the police station he said that Howell told him, “when I catch you on the street I’ll f***ing deal with you’. The officer said he asked Howell if that was a threat to which Howell replied, “I’ll f*** you up”.
Constable Derell Boon also gave evidence for the Prosecution and corroborated the testimony of Constable Charles.
During cross- examination by Attorney Caines both officers denied beating the defendant. Caines told Officer Charles that he targeted Howell that Friday afternoon. Charles too denied that accusation.
Then it was time for the defense to tell its side of the story. Attorney, Ricaldo Caines represented Howell.
Howell told the Court that he was sitting on the steps of the ‘Tea House Chinese Restaurant’ along with some other persons when Constable Charles approached him and told him to get up off the steps. He said Constable Boon then came over and took a Guinness that he was drinking out his hand.
According to Howell, someone from upstairs the restaurant shouted out, “why you all roughing up the man like that?” Howell said he replied, “Is so they normally go on when they see people”.
Howell stated that he took off his bag as instructed by the officer and handed it to him. Here, Howell demonstrated to the Court what occurred. Howell said that the officer had his head pushed down unto a vehicle. He said he held the bag out backwards until he felt the bag taken away from him,.
Howell further stated that he was speaking during the incident and every time he opened his mouth he received a slap. During all this, Howell said he remained claim because he was very well aware that he was already on bail.
Howell accused the officers of beating him badly at the station and giving him a bump at the back of his head by hitting him with a hard objection. Howell showed the bump in Court.
In the journey for the truth by the Police Prosecution, Howell stuck to his story. He said he never used indecent or threatening words to any of the officers.
The defense called a second witness, Shermara Warner to give evidence on its behalf. The female said she was engaged in a conversation with Howell at the very moment that the officers approached him. According to Warner, Howell was not fighting nor was he resisting, but in fact the officers were the ones shoving and pushing Howell.
She admitted that she could not say if Howell swore or threatened the officers because she was walking a distance behind them en route to the police station.
Caines in his submission stated that this matter should not have reached the level that it did. He was of the view that the Prosecution did not prove that there was any battery on the officer, and he asked for the charges to be dismissed.
Her Honor stated that based on the evidence she found Howell not guilty of beating. However, he was convicted on using indecent language and was ordered to pay $500.00 in 3 months or serve one month imprisonment.
Howell walked out the court a free man.