Warwick man found guilty of harrassing magistrate
A Warwick man who claimed a magistrate harassed and intimidated him has instead been found guilty of threatening behaviour against her.
Laurie Furbert, 39, was found guilty in Magistrates’ Court — and his demeanour in the courtroom caused Crown counsel Nicole Smith to tell him “this is exactly why you’re here” while judgment was being given by Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo.
Furbert, who had to wait almost six months for his day in court after repeated adjournments, threw up his hands and denied that he had been glaring at Ms Smith.
He had been charged with behaving in a threatening manner toward Magistrate Nicole Stoneham on June 12.
The court had heard that the incident, outside the Modern Mart in Paget, led to Furbert’s arrest later that day.
Reviewing the case, Mr Tokunbo noted that Ms Stoneham had been just been appointed a full-time magistrate after sitting as an acting magistrate for the Family Court.
Her testimony, he said, was that Ms Stoneham had looked over casually after hearing “a loud male voice” shouting to her outside the supermarket.
A man she didn’t recognise shouted “Yeah, yeah, look at me”, the court heard, followed by “Yeah, yeah, you got to come out in public sometime, and you don’t have the security of the court now.”
Ms Stoneham’s testimony was that she grew alarmed at that point.
“‘I was frightened and I just started to shake’,” Mr Tokunbo read out.
Ms Stoneham’s evidence was that “never in 20 years has someone approached me in such a manner” and that Furbert also said: “You’re wicked, you’re wicked, you’re going to get yours.”
The defendant had appeared before Ms Stoneham in Family Court some time previously, subsequently telling the court she was “dishonest” and “had an agenda”.
Outside the store on June 12, Ms Stoneham called the police, at which point Furbert reversed his car toward her — which, according to her testimony, frightened her to the verge of tears.
Mr Tokunbo also noted that the complainant in her evidence told Crown counsel Takiyah Burgess that Furbert was a big man and she felt she would be attacked.
Turning to Furbert’s testimony, Mr Tokunbo read out the defendant’s contention that he had felt threatened by Ms Stoneham because of her position of power.
Furbert told the court he felt Ms Stoneham had looked at him with disdain on numerous occasions prior to June 12 — although in her testimony she said she hadn’t recognised him at all until Furbert was identified to her by the police when she called 911.
Mr Tokunbo ruled that Furbert had engaged in “semantic sparring” with Crown counsel during the trial, and introduced new evidence during his testimony which Ms Stoneham wasn’t given the chance to respond to, as well as being “evasive and combative”.
Calling Furbert “obsessed and harbouring anger”, Mr Tokunbo said he had found Ms Stoneham credible and said there was “no question” she had felt genuinely threatened.
Sentencing was adjourned until January, pending a social inquiry report.