Sat | Oct 16, 2021

CAD says claims that St Thomas teen fined for COVID breach false

Published:Thursday | September 23, 2021 | 1:03 PM
The agency stated that the minor was charged and brought before the court as an adult but when his age was brought to the attention of the judge, he was admonished.

The Court Administration Division says claims that a teenager was fined $200,000 by a court for failing to wear a mask in public are false.

The teen was among several persons who appeared before the St Thomas Parish Court on Wednesday for breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).  

The breaches were committed in August.  

Thirty persons were charged for failing to wear a mask, of which 18 were each fined $200,000 while 10 were each fined $50,000.   

The other two were fined $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.    

And another 30 persons were charged for breaching curfew restrictions, of which 22 were each fined $200,000 and the other eight were each fined $50,000.  

In a statement today, the agency said that minors are not ordinarily listed before the criminal court, with this only occurring in instances where they are charged with an adult, and in those circumstances, a parent or guardian is present.

Acting director of client services, communications and information Kadiesh Fletcher stated that the minor in question was charged and brought before the court as an adult but when his age was brought to the attention of the judge, he was admonished and the matter transferred to the Children's Court, where he is to appear today.

She said that the teen was not fined $200,000 and reports to the contrary are not true.

Fletcher added that all other children who were charged with adults for breaches of the DRMA were admonished and discharged.

Meanwhile, Fletcher said the judiciary is also aware of concerns about fines issued by the St Thomas Parish Court.

She explained that Section 52 of the DRMA establishes the offences and penalties under this law with the maximum fine being $1 million.

It was noted that the maximum fine issued by the court on Wednesday was $200,000.

The Sixth Schedule, which accompanies the act and outlines the fixed penalties for various breaches of the law, applies only in instances where tickets are issued by the police.

Once a person is brought before the court, this schedule does not apply and the judge is guided by the statute only, Fletcher stated.

The Houses of Parliament passed legislation for the introduction of fixed penalties for persons who are deemed to be in breach of certain aspects of the DRMA.  

The fixed penalties, which are issued in the form of tickets, must be paid within 30 days, failing which a summons would be issued by the court for the person's arrest.  

However, the ticketing regime has not been implemented and persons are still being locked up for offences such as failure to wear masks.

A person who is brought to court under the DRMA and convicted before a parish court is liable to a maximum fine of $1 million or to imprisonment not exceeding one year. 

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