Taxi driver secures Christmas release
Taxi driver Don Oneal Smith will get to enjoy the rest of the Yuletide Season from outside the walls of HMP Dodds.
Last month, the 44-year-old man was remanded to prison after he appeared before Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court No. 2, accused of assaulting his girlfriend and occasioning her actual bodily harm on November 17.
The objections, which Sergeant Janice Ifill raised then, were that the 19-year-old complainant had expressed fear of Smith. The prosecutor therefore believed that if the court had released him on bail, he might have interfered with the teenager.
However, Smith’s attorney Mohia Ma’at had argued at the time that his client had been gainfully employed as a taxi-driver for the past 15 years and that the complainant’s age had nothing to do with the matter at hand.
Ma’at pointed out today before Magistrate Douglas Frederick that the time on remand had served its purpose and had given Smith time to reflect.
He added that Smith’s job was awaiting him and asked that the accused be granted bail with a strict condition attached — he does “not interfere with the complainant in any way”.
“If he breaches that,” the lawyer said, “then I would have nothing to stand on. I would be like a ship without an oar . . . and so would he”.
In speaking to the accused, the Magistrate reminded him that the court took such accusations very seriously.
After questioning the complainant and ascertaining that she only feared the accused when they argued, but that generally he was “a good person”, the Magistrate granted Smith $4 000 bail.
That was with the warning that he “not interferes with her at all”.
“If you see her on one side, run hard,” Frederick warned.
Smith now has to report to a police station once a week and returns to court on March 24.