Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Magistrate Tamia Richards today convicted and sentenced United States (US) citizen, Augusto Marquez to 120 days in prison for contempt of court after he repeatedly displayed disrespectful behavior in the presence of the Magistrate.
Marquez, 60, of Puerto Rico reappeared in court today, August 20 after being on remand from July 25 for assaulting a police officer.
Magistrate Richards, who has been visibly patient with Marquez from the day of his arraignment, today did not tolerate the behavior.
After he was told that he has no legal status in the BVI after his work permit was cancelled by his previous employer, Road Town Wholesale, Marquez told the court today, "You can ask me to leave, but I don´t have to leave, I am a US citizen."
Similar to his previous court appearance, Marquez continued to speak over the Magistrate´s voice.
This time he drew the attention of Magistrate Richards,"I have had enough. I control in here...I have no choice, but to remand you to prison and set a trial date."
The man then asked, "trial for what?"
"I am going to sue you too," he told the Magistrate.
Earlier in the proceedings he had stated that he has hired Dr. JS Archibald, QC to deal with the case where he will be suing the government. Dr. Archibald is currently off island.
Magistrate Richards said Marquez continues to be disrespectful by shouting and laughing. She said she will sentence him to 30 days in prison under Section 94 of the Criminal Code for the contempt he committed in her presence.
However, as he was escorted from the court room, he shouted, "this is a joke. You go and add on 30 more days."
The Magistrate then stated that he is now sentenced to 120 days in prison.
Dates for the trial for the charges of common assault and assault on a police will have to be set.
During today´s hearing an interpreter was present, but most of the times, Marquez responded in English. He also called for a copy of a prisoner´s rights, but a police officer in court stated that he provided one to him. The magistrate then asked that one be sent over to the court for Marquez.
An immigration officer informed the court that a letter from Road Town Wholesale to the Immigration Department has stated that they terminated their ties with Marquez on July 9. She said this means that as of July 10 he had no status in the Territory.
She read two letters, one which was sent to the Commissioner of Police David Morris and copied to the Acting Chief Immigration Officer Guy Hill from Road Town Wholesale in May, about Marquez irrational behavior at work.
The company stated that he was employed as a refrigeration technician and even after he was given a termination letter he refused to accept it.
The company claimed that he had in his possession their purchase order book; he might be sleeping on the road and that he charged a hotel room on Virgin Gorda in the company's name.
According to the company, Marquez had been begging staff members for money.
Marquez told the court he did not ate for the day and noted that his wife will be coming to the Territory.