Vendor accused of opening unfit ackees offered bail
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU: A Manchester woman, who was arrested after she was allegedly seen cutting open unfit ackee pods while plying her wares at the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay, St James, was offered bail when she appeared in court yesterday.
Forty-five-year-old Pauline Powell, who is of an Evergreen address in Manchester, is charged with breaches of the Agricultural Produce Act and the Unlawful Possession of Property Act.
When she appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magi-strate's Court yesterday, Powell was offered bail in the sum of $100,000, and had her case set for mention on November 28.
It is alleged that at about 10 a.m. on October 28, a policeman was on foot patrol at the Charles Gordon Market, when he saw Powell using a knife to open ackee pods.
Ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica, is only fit for consumption when the pods have opened naturally while still on the tree. Ackees are poisonous when taken from pods which have not opened naturally, or which were forced open.
"Were these closed pods?" Resident Magistrate Ann-Marie Granger asked Clerk of the Court Reginald England, when the allegations were read out.
"Yes, Your Honour … . The Public Health Department was contacted and the items were seized as unfit for consumption," England replied.
But in making a bail application, attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, who is representing Powell, said his client was refuting the allegations.
"My client denies that she contravened the law, and she denies the allegations," Thomas told the court. "She has no previous convictions, and she is not a flight risk."
The court was also told that two statements were outstanding from the prosecution's case file.
"Bail is being offered to Powell in the sum of $100,000 with two sureties. She is to report at the Mile Gully Police Station on Mondays and Thursdays, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.," said Granger, as she set the case for mention.