A bar owner was fined yesterday after admitting that he initiated a fight with another man who he said had been haunting the exterior of his business for two years.
Othneil Wayne pleaded guilty to assaulting Ralph Peters, 62, when both men were arraigned on unlawful assault charges before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.
Wayne explained to the magistrate that he felt his actions were warranted given the situation. He explained that Peters has been in front of his business on 78 Robb Street every day for two years and that the man would make customers feel very uncomfortable. He related that on April 21, he received a complaint from a customer about Peters, which led him to confront the man. He said he asked him to move but he would not.
Wayne said he believed Peters was “a mad man” and armed himself with a piece of wood to defend himself if the man tried to strike out at him. Wayne said he proceeded to push Peters with the wood, at which point he fell. According to him, Peters then held onto the wood and dealt him a volley of kicks, to which he responded by doing the same. It was at this point that a policeman on patrol intervened. Wayne was fined $20,000 after his guilty plea.
Peters, who pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, gave an entirely different account of what transpired. He said he was in fact preaching in front of the business when he was assaulted and that he did not provoke Wayne in any manner. He lamented that during the altercation his spectacles were damaged and his leg was injured.
The man protested after his bail was set at $10,000, claiming that it was unlawful. Peters also claimed that he observed Wayne bribing a policeman and added that he believed that it was for this reason that Wayne was favoured by the lawmen.
Peters’ case was transferred to Court 10 and he will appear before Magistrate Geeta Chandan-Edmond in May.