Police officer admit at the District ‘C’ Magistrate Court to hitting a female in the face

By: Gavincia Clarke

(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- Shauna Browne of Brick Kiln Village lost a case against the Police Prosecution on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at the District ‘C’ Magistrate Court when one of the officers of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force accused her of battery.

Sergeant James Stephens admitted to the court on Tuesday that he did strike the accused with his fist but this was in order to get the defendant under control. According to the officer, the defendant exhibited dangerous behavior after she was arrested and taken into police custody. This was done while she was inside a police vehicle.

This information came out in court as Sgt. Stephens was giving evidence on behalf of the Police Prosecution led by Sgt. Stephen Hector.

Stephens told the court that on February 27, 2014 a search warrant was executed on the premises of the defendant. During the search officers found vegetable material suspected to be cannabis outside of a bedroom window. Browne was questioned about the findings and she denied having knowledge of the drug. Browne was then taken into police custody along with another female who was present at the time. The Sergeant told the court that Browne then started to act in an unruly manner. Stephens indicated that it took three officers to get Browne inside of the police vehicle.

While traveling to the station, Stephens said he observed Browne on her cell phone. He said he then stopped the vehicle and asked her to hand over the phone and she refused to comply. The Sergeant then said he reached back to where she was sitting and he confiscated the phone and he placed it on the dashboard of the vehicle.

Stephens added that as he turned around to speak to the defendant, she threw an object at him which struck him on his nose. She then said to him ‘hey tek dat, you ain’t want dat dey too?’ At this time the officer said she started to randomly throw her hands in various postions, and in his mind, she became a danger to herself and the other officers. At that point he admitted to hitting her with his fist to her face. She was then transported to the Alexandra Hospital.

The second witness Constable Antonio Browne collaborate the evidence of Stephens. He told the court that while the defendant was being transported to the police station she was using her cell phone. Sgt. Stephens informed her that she could not be using her phone but she ignored him. As a result, the Sergeant stopped the vehicle and took the phone away from the defendant. A few seconds after, Constable Browne said he heard the defendant say, ‘see the next one here’ and with that she threw the phone striking Sgt. Stephens in his face. The Constable said because of the defendant’s behavior, he had no alternative but to strike her to calm her down. He told the court that she was very loud but after she was hit, the defendant suddenly became very calm.

The defendant, Shauna Browne in her evidence told the court that while traveling to the station she has two cell phones. She said she was sliding the Samsung Galaxy back and forth. According to her, Stephens stopped the vehicle suddenly and dragged the phone from her hands, and the other phone she said she pushed to him. She then testified that Sgt. Stephens told her, ‘Don’t badword play with me’. At that time she said she put her hands over her face while the office was trying at the same time to pull her hands down. Browne said at that point Sgt. Stephens boxed her twice in her face.

Her Honor, Magistrate Yasmine Clarke asked the defendant what caused the officer to box her. The response made by Browne to Magistrate Clarke’s question prompted Her Honor to indicate that she did not believe that the officer boxed her just like that. Browne was found guilty.

Upon the pronouncement of the verdict, Browne shook her head in disbelief.

She was convicted and fined $500 to be paid in one month. However, if she pays the fine within the time frame, no conviction would be recorded against her.

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