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Woman fined for selling unfit ackees

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 3:04 PMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Manchester woman who was arrested and charged after she was seen cutting open unfit ackee pods while plying her wares at the Charles Gordon Market in St James, was slapped with a J$20,000 fine in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Pauline Powell, who is of an Evergreen address in Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaches of the Public Health Act when she appeared before presiding magistrate Natalie Hart-Hines. Should she fail to pay the fine, she will spend 10 days in jail.

According to reports, on Tuesday, October 28, last year, a policeman was on foot patrol at the Charles Gordon Market when he observed Powell using a knife to pry open the unfit ackee pods, which she had in four crocus bags.

Powell was arrested and charged with committing breaches of the Agricultural Produce Act and the Unlawful Possession of Property Act. Her case had been set to go to trial but, following consultations with her attorney, she pleaded guilty to breaching the regulations of the Public Health Act.

Ackee is only fit for consumption when its pods open naturally while still attached to a tree.

In court yesterday, Powell's attorney Martyn Thomas explained to Hart-Hines that the defendant had purchased the produce from an ackee truck passing through her area, prior to bringing them to market for sale.

"The truck passes through, and the buyers select the fit and the unfit ackees from the truck ... they purchase the ackee and then bring it to market themselves," said Thomas. "She (Powell) has been selling from them, and she knows better."

While imposing the fine on Powell, Hart-Hines warned the defendant not to repeat the offence.