Saturday 17 November, 2018

Some of the lesser legal hiccups among local artistes over the years

Although the more hard-edged crimes of gun possession, serious physical and sexual assaults, and murder often dominate the headlines, Jamaican artistes have also found themselves susceptible to at least mere entanglement with a stunning variety of crimes.

Here is a short list of those who come to mind outside of the bigger offences league,

GEORGE NOOKS TO FACE COURT FOR DRUG POSSESSION

Popular entertainer George Nooks, who was charged with possession of cocaine, is to go on trial on May 24th. 

Nooks is being represented by Queen's Counsel Tom Tavares-Finson and Donahue Martin Junior.

In May last year, the police reported that 56-year-old Nooks was spotted acting in a suspicious manner by lawmen during an operation in his community shortly after 9:00 p.m.

He was accosted and a bag he was carrying searched. The bag was allegedly found to contain approximately two ounces of cocaine.

ANTHONY B FACED THE MUSIC

Three years ago, reggae artist Anthony B, whose real name is Keith Anthony Blair, was exonerated on a 2013 possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge in the United States.

Also in 2015, Anthony B was arrested by a team of Trinidadian court marshals and law enforcement personnel after a show in Port of Spain, and escorted to court immediately to answer charges of absconding a debt of US$6,000.

ALOZADE

Several years ago, dancehall artiste Michael Sterling, more popularly known as ‘Alozade’, faced civil suits from policemen after a courtroom brawl in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate’s Court in September 2001

Alozade had appeared in court to face charges of breaches of the Town and Country Planning Act after using expletives during a stage show earlier in the year. The deejay, who was cited for contempt of court, was being escorted from the courtroom by a constable, when he spun around and hit the lawman.

A melee ensued and another cop who was nearby went to the assistance of his colleague and both ended up being injured.

Alozade was subsequently charged with two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm, malicious destruction of property, and using indecent language, and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment at hard labour and fined $I6,000.

ADMIRAL BAILEY FINED BY THE COURT

In 2015, popular artiste Admiral Bailey, real name Glendon Bailey, pleaded guilty in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court and was fined $160,000.

The entertainer and football coach was arrested and charged on February 23 of that year with two counts of uttering forged documents, two counts of obtaining a passport by false pretence, two counts of possession of forged documents, and a count each of attempting to obtain a passport by false pretence and conspiracy to defraud.

According to the police, Bailey was held after he went to the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) in St Andrew, where he attempted to renew a passport in the name of Michael George Sullivan.

When Bailey appeared in court in March of that year, his attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey that the passport for which his client was charged is a document that he had been using for 30 years.

SIZZLA FINED FOR EXPLETIVES

Dancehall artiste, Sizzla, whose real name is Miguel Collins, was fined $1,000 in 2015 for the use of expletives when he appeared at the Petty Sessions Court at the Falmouth Resident Magistrate's Court. He had been charged with the offence after a stage show in January 2014.

GREGORY ISAACS HAD GUN POSSESSION CHARGES

Late reggae star Gregory Isaacs, aka the ‘Cool Ruler’, enjoyed huge success in the 1980s, but his success coincided with drug problems with cocaine that saw him serving a six-month prison sentence in Kingston in 1982 for possession of unlicensed firearms. According to court documents, Isaacs claimed that he had the weapons only for protection, but it emerged that it was his 27th arrest, and that he had become involved in drug dealing and was addicted to crack cocaine. He celebrated his release from prison with his album, ‘Out Deh!’ in 1983.

TOOTS HIBBERT SERVED 18 MONTHS FOR GANJA POSSESSION

In 1966, reggae star Toots Hibbert was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of marijuana. This experience provided the inspiration for one of his best known songs, "54-46 That's My Number".

BOUNTY KILLER ARRESTED IN 2010

Bounty Killer, born Rodney Price, was taken into custody in April 2010 by the St Andrew North Police for a domestic abuse attack which allegedly occurred when he attempted to end a three-year relationship with a female.

When Bounty Killer was taken into custody, police claimed that he used his only telephone call to reach the woman and threatened her life in the presence of officers. He was locked up for two weeks before being granted bail.

To his credit, the phone call might have worked, as the ‘Fed Up’ artiste was never convicted on any domestic abuse charge.

NATTY KING ESCAPES ASSAULT CHARGE

In 2014, no evidence was offered against Rastafarian reggae artiste, Natty King when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court after he was accused of using a machete to hit his wife on the hand for allegedly having pork in their refrigerator.

Kevin ‘Natty King’ Roberts, also known as ‘The man from the East’, was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. Senior Resident Magistrate, Judith Pusey, took the decision for the matter to go no further after Roberts’ wife told the magistrate that she wanted the matter be done away with.

The crown had alleged that sometime in September 2013, an argument developed between Roberts and his wife, who was a policewoman, over the pork inside a container in a plastic bag that had been left in the refrigerator.

BEENIE MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING LA LEWIS

In June 2010, dancehall superstar Moses Davis, more popularly known as Beenie Man, was arrested by the Hunt’s Bay police, resulting from an incident with entertainment personality, LA Lewis.

It was alleged that after the funeral service for Voicemail member, O’Neil Edwards, LA Lewis reportedly ran into the back of Beenie Man’s new Audi Q7. It is alleged that Beenie Man came out of his vehicle and physically accosted LA Lewis.

TOMMY LEE SPARTA ON LOTTERY SCAMMING CHARGE

Tommy Lee Sparta, who’s real name is Leroy Russell, is facing lottery scamming charges.

He was charged with three co-accused in 2014 under the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Special Provisions Act.

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