Principal freed of assault charges

October 15, 2015

Rasbert Turner

Principal of the Jonathan Grant High School in St Catherine, Dr O'Neill Ankle, was freed of assault charges in the Spanish Town Resident Magistrate's (RM) Court on Monday.

This was after defence attorney Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, QC, made a successful no-case submission.

She told the court that Ankle, who was accused of assaulting a cameraman who was filming at the school, acted in self-defence of the students and himself. Samuels-Brown said at the time the complainant was trespassing on the school's property and invading the rights of the children.

After quoting a section of the 1980 Education Act, she convinced the court that Ankle does not have a case to answer. This was concurred by Clerk of Court Venese Blackstock-Murray, who added that the evidence of the two policemen had smashed the Crown's case.

In her summation, RM Natalee Brooks said there were inconsistencies in the Crown's case.

Dr Ankle was hugged by well-wishers, students and staff after being freed.

The Crown led evidence that in September 2012, the complainant went onto the school's compound. He was filming when he was allegedly attacked by an irate Ankle, who grabbed him and forcibly removed him from the school. During the incident, Ankle reportedly damaged the camera lens.

The matter was reported and Ankle was summoned on charges of malicious destruction of property and assault occasioning bodily harm. He had maintained his innocence throughout numerous court appearances. Lancelot Clarke Jr watched proceedings on behalf of the complainant.

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