Judiciary Rejects Claims in Viral Video, DRMA Fines

The Judiciary has reported that it has taken note of a video circulating on social media in which a member of the public expressed concern about a 17-year-old boy, who was alleged to be fined $200,000 for breaches under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

Acting Director of Client Services, Communications, and Information, Mrs. Kadiesh Fletcher, noted that the report is false. They added that the teen was not fined $200,000, and noted that minors are only listed before the Criminal Court in instances where they are charged with an adult, and in those circumstances, a parent or guardian present.

“The minor in question was charged and brought before the court as an adult When his age was brought to the attention of the Judge, he was admonished by the Judge and the matter transferred to the Children’s Court, where he is to appear today (Thursday, September 23, 2021)” she added.

The Judiciary emphasised that all other children who were charged with adults for breaches of the DRMA were warned and discharged.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary noted that it is aware of concerns about fines issued by the St. Thomas Parish Court for breaches of the DRMA on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. And noted that Section 52 of the DRMA states that for offences under this law, the penalty is a maximum fine of one million dollars.

The maximum fine issued for adults at St. Thomas Parish Court was $200,000. The Sixth Schedule, which accompanies the Act and outlines the fixed penalties for various breaches of the law, applies only in instances where tickets are issued by the police.

The Judiciary also noted that once a person is brought before the court, this Schedule does not apply and the judge is guided by the statute only. The Judiciary continues to encourage everyone to abide by the COVID-19 protocols as the country continues the fight against the virus.