A Corporate Area man who brandished a knife at a police officer after he felt he was being discriminated against because of his unkempt appearance was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday.
Rodney Smith pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob, assault at common law and being armed with an offensive weapon. It was reported that on November 28 at 12:45 p.m., the complainant was walking along Beckford Street when Smith walked up to her and said, "Weh yah pree me fah? Gimme yuh purse!" while using indecent language.
The complainant, who was not in uniform, said she took a few steps back after Smith made his demands and flashed a ratchet knife, gesturing that he would stab her. The complainant was then assisted to the Darling Street Police Station, where a report was made and Smith was later apprehended on Princess Street.
When he appeared before Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque, Smith said that people were staring at him and his ragged clothes, which depressed him.
"Your Honour, I am very sorry. I had the knife yes, I flashed it. I didn't come to rob anyone, I come to shop but everybody is looking at me a way so I asking her 'What's the problem?' but I shouldn't open my mouth. I should've just walked, walked silently and just leave her. I didn't know she was a cop. If I knew she was a cop I wouldn't ask her 'What is the issue?' or What is the problem?' But she didn't say anything and dat p*** me off," he explained.
"But your head can't so hot young man, yuh head can't so hot," the senior judge told Smith, who admitted to having a previous conviction for robbery with aggravation in 2020. He served seven months at hard labour. Smith then became emotional as he spoke about his hard-knock life.
"I lose my house at Old Hope Road, Your Honour, it burn down. I have it rough, Your Honour. Just give me a minute of your time. I was doing some construction work, so Monday (November 28) me go a town trying to buy a jersey and a shoes to enjoy myself. See me do my hair fi look fresh and look nice, fi look like somebody pickney because me hair did look wild and raggedy and people look pon me certain way. So a change me a change my image. I am going through and she (the complainant) is looking at me and I said 'Miss, what's the problem?' because I feel offended," he shared.
"Your Honour, a true yuh nuh know weh me a guh through. A first me ever cry suh much yesterday," the ex-convict added, showing bruises that he said were inflicted by police when he was arrested. But during his plea mitigation, Smith threatened other detainees who were in the holding cell.
"Unnu can laugh all unnu wah, if me see unnu a road a problem yere," Smith told the men, while standing in the prisoner's dock.
"I'm going to sentence you today. I am going to send you to prison," Cole-Montaque indicated, after which Smith apologised for his courtroom behaviour.
For the charge of being armed with an offensive weapon, Smith was sentenced to 10 days' imprisonment, while for assault at common law, he was sentenced to four months' imprisonment at hard labour. Smith was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment at hard labour for assault with intent to rob. Smith placed his hand on his head and groaned.
"You take care," the judge said in her parting words.