‘Prophet’ charged with breaking quarantine
A self-professed ‘end time prophet’ who allegedly skipped out on his quarantine just one day after arriving in the state, will be facing a trial to determine his guilt or innocence.
Andrew King, who normally resides in London but is originally from Spring Estate/Biabou, arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) on December 28, travelling from the United Kingdom.
The 53-year-old is accused that he, on December 29, in Villa, contravened an order made by Dr Roger Duncan, Health Officer, pursuant to section 27(a) of the Public Health Act, requiring him to quarantine himself from other persons.
The defendant was wearing a mask when he came to the Serious Offences Court (SOC), yesterday, January 11, as this has become the requirement for all persons inside the courtrooms.
He seemed to tell the Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne, after she read the charge to him, that he had “no comment”.
King was informed that couldn’t work. He was told that the options in court were guilty or not guilty.
Consequently, the defendant replied “I’m not guilty”.
The matter was adjourned and transferred to the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court for tomorrow, January 12. Currently, the defendant is on station bail.
If King’s matter goes to trial it will be the second of its nature in SVG. The first concluded without the defendant, Jeyandra Jackson, even having to enter her defence, as the judicial officer upheld a no case submission made by her lawyer, Israel Bruce.
“Having addressed my mind to the legal tests at a no case submission stage, I am of the view that the prosecution’s case, taken at its highest is such that a jury properly directed, and I am that jury, could not properly convict on it,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett stated in his decision, delivered last Tuesday, January 5 at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
At another point in his decision, Burnett noted, “Now the court recognizes that Covid-19 is a relatively new virus, but if you are going to prosecute persons for breaching an order, you have to realize that you have to satisfy a court, I repeat you have to satisfy a court, not the Ministry of Health.”
While Jackson’s case was the first to go to trial there have been many other persons who have entered guilty pleas to breaching quarantine, and have received fines.
As at the most recent release from the Ministry of Health, there are 143 active cases of Covid-19 in the country. The number of cases have been climbing a steep ascent seemingly in the wake up the Christmas festivities.