BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – SHERMEL JEFFERS of Gillard Meadows was on Monday (Jul. 15) fined and placed on a bond after she was found guilty on two of three counts of Unlawful Communication.
According to a police communique, Jeffers had appeared at the Basseterre Magistrate’s Court charged with three counts in the first instance for Unlawful Communication.
The offences were committed between June 27 and 28, 2018, where the communication was transmitted via WhatsApp, which is a messenger application that uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or video.
The case, according to the police, was tried under Section 14.1 of the Electronic Crimes Act, under the sub-heading “Unlawful Communication”.
On the first charge, she was fined $3,000 to be paid in 14 days or six months imprisonment.
“On the second charge, she was bound to keep the peace for one year and bonded $6000 for the same period,” the communique read.
The police however did not reveal the contents of the communication and the identity of the recipient.
After being charged with the offences, Jeffers was subsequently bailed in the sum of $20,000 for her appearance at the Basseterre Magistrate Court on July 13, 2018.
Her bail was dependent on several conditions: (1) she is to have no further communication with the Virtual Complainant; (2) she is to report to the Basseterre Police Station every Monday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and (3) she should not come within 100 feet of the Virtual Complainant.
In a previous communique, police said, “Section 14.1 of the Electronic Crimes Act, under the subheading ‘Unlawful Communication’ states that where a person without lawful excuse or justification knowingly uses a computer system to send a message, letter, or electronic communication that (a) is obscene, (b) constitutes a threat; or (c) is menacing in character, to a recipient and intends to cause the recipient or any other person who is the subject of that message or letter or electronic communication to feel intimidated, molested, harassed or threatened, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
That communique went on to say: “Section 14.2 goes on to state that where a person without lawful excuse or justification publishes the message, letter or electronic communication referred to in subsection (1), to any other person not being a person who is the subject of the message, letter or electronic communication, then that first person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
In an effort to guard against the committal of such crimes, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is asking citizens and residents of the twin-island Federation “to familiarise themselves with the legislation and be guided accordingly”.