Vendor lashes out against arrest in court

January 29, 2019

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James Parish Court bore witness to an elderly vendor's wrath last Wednesday as she complained about being arrested for selling sweets near a Salvation Army premises in Montego Bay.

Rene Porter was before the court on the charge of exposing goods for sale.

The court was told that at the time of her arrest, Porter was seen selling a tray of sweets on the sidewalk near the building.

But the agitated Porter told presiding judge Natalie Creary-Dixon that she had permission to sell her goods in the schoolyard at the premises.

"I am not guilty with explanation," Porter said when asked to enter a plea. "I got permission to sell in the schoolyard, and I've been there for 30 years, and I had tied up my goods with a tarpaulin. Let me finish, ma'am," she added angrily as she was interrupted in her growing tirade.

Attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, who was in court for a separate case, then intervened on Porter's behalf despite not representing her.

"I can understand the stress that's bearing on her as she seems quite frustrated because her livelihood is taken away from her. I ask you to excuse her outburst just now," Thomas addressed Creary-Dixon.

"Persons need to understand that they are responsible for their behaviour," Creary-Dixon replied, speaking directly to Porter. "I'm setting the matter for February 14, so I'll hear your side, and I'll hear the officer's side because the officer is saying something very different."

- C.T.

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