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Man fined $10K after cases stuck in courts for four decades

Published:Friday | January 14, 2022 | 12:06 AM

Retired St Mary farmer Ryland Forbes uttered a sigh of relief in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday after three criminal cases that had been before the court for more than 40 years finally came to an end.

Forbes, 59, discovered last year that he still had the cases in court after he tried to apply for a police record.

In 1981, a warrant of arrest was issued for Forbes after he failed to attend court in relation to a charge of possession of ganja.

Attorney-at-law Courtney Foster got the matter listed.

Foster told the court Tuesday that Forbes recalled pleading guilty to the offence of possession of ganja and being fined $500 in 1981.

However, the court records indicated that he absconded bail.

Foster said that it was unfortunate that Forbes was not represented by an attorney at the time and it was his ignorance of judicial matters that resulted in his absence from court.

Forbes said in his sworn affidavit that he did not recall ever appearing before the court for the offences of burglary and indecent assault, as he was not in Jamaica at the time that the police indicated he was charged.

The court records show that in 1981, the burglary and indecent assault charges were adjourned sine die (without a date being set) as the complainant did not attend court.

The parish judge granted a request by the clerk of the court for no order to be made in relation to possession of ganja and burglary and indecent assault.

Following the withdrawal of those charges Tuesday, Forbes then entered a plea of guilty to the offence of absconding bail on the ganja possession charge.

Foster, in making an impassioned plea for leniency, indicated that when Forbes was before the court in 1981, he was a young man and had made a misstep in his life. She said since then, he had lived an unblemished life.

The attorney-at-law said Forbes had suffered several medical ailments that put a significant strain on his financial resources. A medical report was submitted to the court indicating Forbes’ ailments.

The judge fined Forbes $10,000 for absconding bail.

– Barbara Gayle