General — 25 April 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks

“You are one foolish woman. Get out of my courtroom!” Belize Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, told a woman whose complaint to the Police Domestic Violence Unit resulted in her boyfriend being charged for committing common assault upon her.

Smith made the remark after sentencing Arthur Flowers, a car washer, to pay $150 plus $5 cost of court forthwith, after he pleaded guilty yesterday, Tuesday, to one count of common assault upon his girlfriend, Nicole Avilez.

After he had pleaded guilty to the common assault when Smith asked him if he had anything to say before she passed sentence upon him, Flowers explained that he did not really hit his girlfriend, as the police report had alleged.

Holding out both his hands, he demonstrated to the court how he hit Avilez with his open hands that he clasped together on her face.

“You have no right to hit her,” Smith interjected, “She’s not your child.”

When she announced her sentence of $150, Flowers declared: “I wash vehicles. I don’t have that kind of money.”

“The fine is to be paid forthwith,” Smith told him. Then she added: “And all outstanding court fines are to be paid, before you are released.”

Flowers, it turned out, has a $305 unpaid court fine dating back to 2009.

But as Flowers was being led out of the courtroom by one of the court orderlies, who took him to the court’s holding cell, Smith asked Avilez to stand up. It was then that the Chief Magistrate made the remark to Avilez, who had gone to court in support of Flowers, and wanted to drop the charge against him.

On Sunday, April 20, Avilez visited the Police Domestic Violence Unit and reported that she was socializing with some friends when Flowers came and got annoyed. He punched her three times in the face and twice in her left temple, according to the statement that she had given to police, and which was read in court after Flowers had pleaded guilty to the charge.

Based upon Avilez’s report, police located Flowers and charged him for the common assault.

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