I read an article in your newspaper last week on the jailing of Anderson Wilson and I feel obliged to add my two cents worth and, at the same time, to thank your newspaper for its consistent support of the poor and disposed. Can someone tell me the justification for sending Anderson Wilson to jail for 7 days with hard labour for cussing Fitzgerald Hinds? Let’s put this in perspective.
The Summary Offences Act says that the penalty for this offence is a fine of $200 or 30 days imprisonment. The magistrate has the discretion to penalize the offender with a sentence within that range. It is extremely rare, almost unheard of, that a person charged with cussing is ever given a jail sentence, more so as this Defendant appeared not to have a record of criminal conduct. In fact, he would be what we call a man of good character at the time of being found guilty of this offense.
Anderson cussed his Member of Parliament for failing to do the job for which he was elected to do. I do not condone disrespect shown towards anyone but justice must be tempered with mercy and appreciation for the circumstance in which the offense was committed. It has been said that the Magistrate in passing sentence indicated that she has to send a strong message that persons in public office ought not to be disrespected. I have news for you, Your Worship, no one ought to be disrespected! Mr. Hinds ought to be treated like everyone else in the eyes of the law. If Anderson had cussed his neighbor, it is more than likely that because his neighbor does not have the status of Mr. Hinds, the finding of guilt would have resulted in more than likely a fine or a warning, a bond or community service.
Further, did this Magistrate stop to think that it costs $25,000.00 per day to house, feed, and secure a prisoner. So the taxpayers just paid $175,000.00 because Anderson cuss Hinds for being an ineffective and incompetent Member of Parliament., which he is!
It begs the question: Do we have one law for the big boys and one for the rest of us? A QC held to swindle this country of millions of dollars and he ain’t make a jail, but our son of the soil cuss a man for not doing his job and he is sentenced to jail. Have politics, favoritism, bias, and unfairness becoming entrenched in the judiciary? If we follow this obvious blatant trend of kicking the poor man when he is down, then crapaud smoke we pipe!