Tue | Apr 13, 2021

American charged for curfew breach in defence of brother

Published:Friday | February 26, 2021 | 12:13 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

An American citizen was hauled before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Wednesday for reportedly breaching the curfew order after he went to the police station in the night to check on his brother, another United States citizen, who had been arrested.

It is alleged that the accused, Dwayne Cuff, showed up at the August Town Police Station at 11:17 p.m. on December 6, 2020, and refused to leave despite being warned that he was in breach of the curfew order.

The 24-year-old painter of Florida, US, and of Goldsmith Villa, August Town, Kingston, was also charged with obstructing police after he allegedly photographed the policemen while he was at the station.

It is further alleged that Cuff told his brother, Tevin Rodney, who was in custody, “An mek sure you get all a dem name.”

According to the clerk of the court, who outlined the allegation in court, Cuff was then held by a policeman and taken inside the reception area despite resisting arrest.

Following that, Cuff was warned that he would be charged and he and his brother allegedly became boisterous.

It is further alleged that Rodney menacingly approached the policeman who, in fear for his life, pepper-sprayed the man.

Prior to Cuff’s visit to the station, his brother had been taken into custody that same night after he reportedly uttered expletives in the presence of the police and behaved disorderly when he and others were instructed to exit a vehicle for it to be searched.

The vehicle was stopped by law enforcers in Goldsmith Villa where a zone of special operations was in effect.

According to the police, Rodney’s boisterous behaviour intensified after he was told that he would be charged for calumnious language, disorderly conduct, and breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act.

Rodney is also accused of resisting arrest, by flashing his hands and swaying his body, when he was being handcuffed.

However, attorney-at-law Emily Shields, who is representing the brothers, said she was stunned at the allegations.

“Am I to understand that under no circumstances during the curfew hours an individual is allowed to go to a police station, even to seek information about a relative?”she said.

“And I don’t understand how this man saying ‘mek sure you get dem name’, to his brother who is in handcuffs, becomes the basis upon which a charge of obstructing police is instituted,” she charged.

The attorney described the situation as the “heights of madness”.

“This is not Russia, this is not Mexico Valley, and this should not be happening in this country,” she argued, while urging the judge to dismiss the charge.

However, Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague, in reply, said that she was not inclined to dismiss the matter at this point. But Cole-Montague warned the prosecution that she foresaw a challenge in pursuing the obstruction charge if no more evidence was forthcoming.

A subsequent mention date was scheduled for May 19 after the court was informed that the file was incomplete and the brothers’ bail was extended.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com