Man who referred to himself as “Michael the Archangel” claims he was touched by the Holy Spirit
Matter adjourned to November 15
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Shervandaze “Archangel” Smith insisted in court yesterday that he was in his right mind when he took a sledgehammer to the Christopher Columbus statue on the grounds of Government House on Saturday, and that he did so because of divine purpose after he was touched by God.
Smith was arrested on Saturday after he damaged the right leg of the statue.
The incident, which was caught on video and went viral, sparked national debate about colonial monuments in iconic locations in The Bahamas.
He appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt yesterday over trespassing and damage charges related to the statue.
Smith’s mother, Sheryl Brown, made an appeal to the court for him to have a psychiatric assessment, telling the judge that he has had episodes in the past and the family was concerned that he is no longer the person he used to be.
“We have not seen that person,” she told the chief magistrate.
According to Brown, her son has never been examined, though he has previously seen renowned psychiatrist Dr David Allen.
As she spoke, Smith raised his hand, but was advised he would be allowed to address the court during the proceedings.
“When did the behavior start?” the judge asked.
“The first occurrence was two years ago,” the mother replied.
The judge asked if the behavior has continued since then, to which the mother said it has.
Smith interjected: “What behavior?”
When he addressed the court, Smith said he encountered former Bahamas Faith Ministries International Senior Pastor the late Dr Myles Munroe, who told him he would learn his purpose.
According to Smith, God touched him and that is why “I am not afraid to plead guilty”.
However, the court did not take a plea.
“My mother knew this the whole time after I found out the purpose of my life,” he continued.
“It was a hard time going through what they call a ‘spiritual awakening’, or it’s called being [touched] by God.
“My mother is [in] denial of this because there [are] a few things I found out after being touched by the Holy Spirit that she does not want people to know…”
Ferguson-Pratt indicated she was not satisfied that she ought to accept a plea from Smith until he had a psychiatric evaluation to determine ‘compos mentis’ (having full control of one’s mind).
She advised that she would request for the evaluation to be expedited.
“I am concerned that you may be laboring as a mentally competent person and I must satisfy myself of that by law,” the judge said.
She said she was concerned about his welfare and the welfare of others and was minded to remand him for the psychiatric evaluation.
But the judge said she was advised there was a moratorium on admissions at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
She said the matter will be checked, but if there was no availability, Smith would be remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and visited by a SRC team for the evaluation.
She said if there is availability at Sandilands, he will be transferred there until the matter can proceed.
The matter was adjourned to November 15.
Smith’s attorney, Donna Major, asked for the court to give consideration to Smith being placed in sick bay for his safety. The judge said that was a matter for the commissioner of corrections, but that a note will be placed on Smith’s remand.
Smith bowed his head as the judge spoke.
When asked if he wished to speak with his mother, Smith said he had nothing to say to her as God knows what she has done.
He claimed his mother made it seem as if he was crazy, but he previously worked as a personal butler at Sandals.
He told the court he left his mother’s home three years ago and traveled to the United States, where he later lived on the streets and not once committed a crime.
He asked how he could do all of that if he was crazy.
Smith was also represented by attorney Maria Daxon.