Man begs judge to send him to prison

December 03, 2021

A 20-year-old man who accidentally hit a policewoman who was trying to break up a fight between him and another man asked a judge to send him to prison as he was unable to compensate the cop for damage to her eyeglasses and to cover medical costs.

Akeem Gooden was ordered to make compensation of $100,000. He began making payment but was absent from court on July 29, when he was due to make a final payment of $50,000. He was subsequently arrested and brought before the court on two warrants.

On Thursday, when he appeared before Senior Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague, Gooden was due to pay more than $50,000 in compensation. However, he did not have a dime.

"Miss, I can't afford it," Gooden told the judge, who indicated that he would be remanded in custody until he comes up with the money.

"I prefer spend some time for it. I cannot afford it. Your Honour, I don't have any family to find the money so I will spend some time for it. Just sentence me for it," Gooden, a taxi operator, said.

The judge asked: "So, you want me to send you to prison today?"

"Yes, Miss, because I don't have it," Gooden responded. "I cannot find any more money and my family not helping with the payment."

Gooden's problems began in July when he and another man were involved in a brawl at a drive-through restaurant on Constant Spring Road in Kingston. The other man pulled a cutlass but called on the police officer to intervene.

The complainant, a police inspector, told the court that while holding the man, Gooden started punching the man. She told the court that while parting the fight, Gooden's elbow hit her glasses and caused bruises under her eye. She told the judge that she had to do a CT scan, which cost $40,000.

Gooden pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but pleaded not guilty to failure to wear a mask under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

The judge said she would take into account the time Gooden spent in custody when he is set to be sentenced. He is to return to court on January 13, 2022.

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