Magistrate moved to change plea
A magistrate was forced to change a man’s guilty plea to not guilty, after listening to the facts of the case yesterday morning in the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court.
Acting Magistrate Alliston Seale vacated Rommel Decoursey Miller’s plea of guilty of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Harold Garnes along Marhill Street, the City on January 5, 2016, after the accused admitted hitting the complainant, but only in self-defense.
The 29-year-old labourer of King Street, the City had earlier pleaded not guilty to stealing a Nokia cell phone valued at $1,100 from Garnes on December 20.
When asked by Seale why he had been fighting in town, Miller told the court: “I was only defending myself”.
It was then that the Magistrate told him if that was the case, he could not accept his guilty plea.
“I cannot accept your plea of guilty if you were defending yourself. You are not charged with wounding; you are charged with unlawfully wounding,” Seale told him as he stood in the dock.
“I know the law better than you do… and if you were defending yourself, then it was not unlawful because a man has a right to safeguard himself and his belongings.”
Seale then vacated Miller’s guilty plea and entered a not guilty plea.
“The court will formally record a not guilty plea,” he told the accused.
Miller was then granted bail in the sum of $3500 with a surety and will return to court on April 13.