Homeless men brawl in shelter

March 31, 2023

A senior parish judge ordered that a homeless man, who is a resident of the Desmond McKenzie Transitional Centre for the Homeless, make compensation in a month's time to another resident, whom he injured during a fracas at the facility.

The defendant, Lorenzo Laird, who was dressed dapperly in a grey shirt and matching pants with brown shoes, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Thursday. It was reported that Laird used pebbles to hit the complainant who is an elderly man.

"This is a battle of homeless people. They get a chance and them brucking fight. What a wasted opportunity," Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque remarked. She asked the complainant if he was interested in being compensated.

"I want justice, he intended to hurt me," the complainant said. But Laird, who the judge noticed had a smartphone, a watch and sported a bleached out hairstyle, said that he was not working and had no idea of how to quash the matter.

"He needs justice. Even if it's not cash, it can be kind or something. How your hair get coloured? How you do that?" the judge queried.

"Sometimes we have people volunteer at the shelter, make them [residents] integrate back to society," a social worker said, adding that it was an initiative of the Health Ministry.

"Well engage their pockets," the senior jurist said, causing stifled laughter in the courtroom. The complainant interjected that he did not believe Laird was remorseful and asked that the judge put an end to the matter.

"Do you have anything that you could give to the complainant? Something have to give yuh know Lorenzo. What are you going to do for him?" the judge asked. But Laird remained silent.

Judge Cole-Montaque then imposed a sentence of three months' imprisonment at hard labour suspended for a year and a compensation order of $5,000 to be paid within a month.

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