Man jailed for pulling fire alarm at court

  • Evacuating building: court staff and the public congregate after a fire alarm on Friday morning (File photograph by Sarah Lagan)

    Evacuating building: court staff and the public congregate after a fire alarm on Friday morning (File photograph by Sarah Lagan)

A man who claimed he was a hero after he set off a fire alarm in Magistrates’ Court was jailed for six months yesterday.

Jerry Williams, 54, said he triggered the alarm at the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building in Hamilton because he saw someone in the building with a Molotov cocktail and a lighter.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo did not believe his story. Mr Tokunbo said: “You don’t appear to be credible in what you are telling me.”

The court heard Williams, from Devonshire, was in the court building last Friday morning.

Security staff heard him say he was going to pull the fire alarm and saw him walk into Magistrates’ Court No 3.

The alarm went off moments later and Williams was seen to walk out of the building.

The building was evacuated and court staff and members of the public remained outside for about 30 minutes until firefighters gave the all-clear. The court heard security staff told police about Williams and shortly after the building was reopened he was arrested in Magistrates’ Court No 2 for an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Williams pleaded guilty, but told the court he was a hero. “This is a simple case of the hero being the villain,” he said. “I smelled petrol — gas — and I saw an individual like he was carrying a Molotov cocktail, a gas bomb, and he had a lighter in his hand.

“I tried to alert the officers but it fell on deaf ears so I did the only thing for everyone’s safety.”

He said that he did not tell police what happened when he was arrested because the officers were “rude”.

Williams added: “I didn’t appreciate how they handled me so I had nothing to say to them.”

He also denied that he had been jailed before for a similar offence, despite a court record.

Williams used a cigarette lighter to set off the sprinkler system at Hamilton Police Station in 2013 while in custody.

The sprinklers flooded an area of the station with several inches of water and caused an estimated $3,620 in damage.

Mr Tokunbo said: “Having seen your antecedents, which include a conviction and prison time for a false alarm in 2013, I’m going to sentence you to six months in prison to send a message to you and any others who would do it.”

Robert Somner spent about a month behind bars this year after he made a hoax bomb threat to the court complex.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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