Rights Bahamas chair has case to answer

Rights Bahamas chair has case to answer

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Magistrate’s Court judge yesterday ruled Rights Bahamas Chairperson Mona Agenor has a case to answer as it relates to charges of disorderly behavior and resisting arrest brought against her.

Agenor was detained following her encounter with immigration and police officers at her home in Bedrock Court on July 31.

Witness for the prosecution Inspector Darold Ferguson told the court that officers went to the area around 7:30am and visited each home for the purpose of searching for illegal immigrants.

He testified that while at a neighboring home, he observed a suspect jumping over the fence into the defendant’s residence and attempted to gain entry himself, but a locked gate, fence and pit-bull on the property prevented him.

He said that he identified himself to a woman, whom he identified in court as Agenor, and explained his desire to search the premises.

However, Ferguson said the woman asked him for a warrant, to which he responded that he did not need one under the circumstances.

He said after he told the defendant he planned to search all the room inside the home, she became aggressive and told him ‘I don’t know why y’all [expletive] here. Ya’ll need to carry ‘ya’ [expletive].”

“I warned her of her language and told her I was offended and ask her to refrain or decease.She then came directly in my face and said: [expletive] you. I don’t care what ya’ll do’

“She also went over to Sergeant Pratt and said: ‘[expletive] you too.’

“At this point, I told her she was under arrest for obscene language and disorderly behavior. I then proceeded to secure her by placing my hands on her. She pushed my hands away and then ran into the house. I ran after her and tried to secure her. She then she pushed by hands off. Eventually I was able to secure her. I cautioned her.”

Under cross examination, attorney Crispin Hall, who represents Agenor, asked Ferguson if he was certain about the time he visited the home. Ferguson said he was.

Hall asked the officer if ever found the suspect he observed.

Ferguson replied: “No sir.”

Hall asked: “But you saw the suspect? Where did the suspect go?”

Ferguson responded: “He hopped the fence into her yard. We tried to get in, but there was a commotion. Everybody came out and I am of the view that it was a distraction. The individual went to the back of the house.”

Hall asked: “Do you go to the back of the building?”

Ferguson answered: “I could not get to the back of the building because I was prevented by the dog and the fence, and I did not want to shoot the dog.”

Hall then asked whether the officer withdrew his weapon before or after he was allowed onto the property.

Ferguson insisted: “I never pulled my weapon.”

Hall asked: “You never pulled your gun on Mona Algernon’s 14-year-old daughter?”

Ferguson replied: “No sir. Definitely not.”

When asked whether he fired any shots, Ferguson said he did not, but heard gunshots.

Hall asked if the officer was aware of a Supreme Court injunction in place for 177 shantytown residents, including Agenor’s home, which prevents any planned service disconnections or evictions pending a judicial review.

Ferguson said he was not aware of the injunction.

The judge also asked if the injunction was public knowledge as he was not aware of it.

The officer denied had knowledge that led officers to target Agenor’s residence.

Hall suggested to Ferguson there was “never a suspect and you made that up to circumvent and be able to get into the premises”.

Ferguson denied this.

At the time of the incident, there were several other people in the home who were also detained, including Elddeanna Monica Agenor, 19, who was charged with intent to cause harm to an immigration officer. A court ruled last month that she had not case to answer.

The trial continues on January 28.