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Magistrate changes accused’s plea

RANDY BENNETT, [email protected]

Magistrate changes accused’s plea

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Magistrate Douglas Frederick was forced to use his discretion and change an accused man’s initial guilty plea yesterday.

When 52-year-old Victor Odle appeared in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court, he admitted to damaging a car belonging to Carson Ward, as well as wounding Richard Ricardo Prescod, on December 15.

However, after prosecutor Sergeant Rudy Pilgrim revealed the facts of the case, Magistrate Frederick made the decision to change the plea.

Pilgrim told the court that Odle was plying his trade on the corner of James and Tudor Street, The City, when his cousin approached him and complained that a man was bothering him.

He directed him to talk to another cousin, who subsequently confronted the man. The prosecutor added that an altercation ensued and Odle threw a Banks bottle, damaging the car, before stabbing the complainant in the buttocks with a shoemaker’s needle.

The complainant retreated and the men pelted him with stones and bottles, shattering the windows of the car and denting the roof, the court heard.

The damage was estimated to be $3 250.

But when the magistrate asked Odle if he had anything to say, the accused explained that all of the men were throwing rocks and bottles and he could not say for sure if he had damaged the vehicle.

“You are wasting my time,” Magistrate Frederick told the man. “It is either you are guilty or not guilty.”

He advised Odle he could not plead guilty and then give an explanation that contradicted his plea.

Even though Odle replied: “All right, I guilty; I guilty,” Magistrate Frederick told him he would change his plea to not guilty.

Odle was released on $3 000 bail and will return to court next April 10. (RB)