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‘I’m sure I wouldn’t get fair treatment’ BAD member to magistrate

Anti-draft campaigner Lamont Marshall yesterday continued to challenge charges that he failed to attend Regiment and pay associated fines.

Mr Marshall does not deny the facts of the case, but maintained that he should be found not guilty because he is a conscientious objector.

Mr Marshall, 28, stands accused of disobeying an order from the Commanding Officer of the Regiment to pay a $500 fine issued under the Defence Act.

The Devonshire man was further charged with disobeying an order to report to the Regiment’s Warwick Camp headquarters by noon on January 12, 2012.

He is currently in custody after being sentenced to six months in prison for causing grievous bodily harm by dangerous driving earlier this year.

Taking the stand in his own defence, Mr Marshall told the court that he has been an acting member of anticonscription group Bermudians Against the Draft (BAD) since its inception in 2006.

“We have been on the radio talk shows, we have been in the news in both of the printed media. We have been all the way to the Privy Counsel in London,” he said.

Mr Marshall told the court he believed conscription to be a violation of the constitution and, if forced to serve he would be subjected to forced labour.

“I’m sure I wouldn’t get fair treatment,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be a good scenario for me.”

He also stated that he applied to the Defence Objection Tribunal to be deemed a conscientious objector, but the tribunal rejected his application in January.

Cross-examined by prosecutor Garrett Byrne, Mr Marshall acknowledged that he was conscripted into the Regiment and had signed an oath stating that he would abide by the conditions of service.

The defendant also agreed that he had failed to attend Warwick Camp when ordered, and had failed to pay a $500 fine.

Mr Byrne asked Mr Marshall: “So what you are saying, in short, is that the Magistrate should find you not guilty because you are a conscientious objector?”

Mr Marshall agreed. While he maintained that he is a conscientious objector, he did agree that he has at no time been deemed such by the Defense Objection Tribunal.

Both Mr Byrne and lawyer Eugene Johnson, representing Mr Marshall, will submit written legal arguments, with Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo delivering his judgement next month.

LaMont Marshall

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Published May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 23, 2013 at 12:08 am)

‘I’m sure I wouldn’t get fair treatment’ BAD member to magistrate

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