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Journalist admits Front Street fight

A 35-year-old travel journalist has been handed a 12-month conditional discharge for taking part in a fight in a public place.

Appearing in Magistrates' Court this morning, Karen Day originally denied the offence, which took place outside the Bermuda Bistro at the Beach on Front Street in the early hours of Saturday morning.

However, after receiving a November 15 trial date, the New York resident changed her plea to guilty so she could return to the United States in time to vote in tomorrow's Presidential election.

Meanwhile, the woman she was accused of fighting, 19-year-old Jazz Shiell of Pembroke, was also charged with affray. She denied the offence and will stand trial later this month.

According to Prosecutor Nicole Smith, Day was arrested after police responded to a commotion outside of the Front Street bar at 2.55am.

The officers saw two women fighting, tugging at each other and eventually scrabbling on the ground before being restrained by onlookers.

Ms Smith said that Day, who appeared “highly intoxicated and belligerant”, said as she was arrested: “That b***h — she was fighting me.”

Day and Ms Shiell were taken to Hamilton Police Station where they were cautioned and charged with affray, at which point Day said: “I was not fighting and if she is an honest person she will say the same thing.”

In court today, her defence lawyer, Peter Farge told the court that it was “an exchange of words rather than an actual fight”.

He noted that alcohol was involved and added that his client, who is a travel reporter, “may have been dancing with Ms Shiell's boyfriend”.

Reiterating that words were exchanged but the fight was not physical, Day admitted that she was intoxicated at the time and had felt provoked.

“I love Bermuda — I don't want to be in trouble here,” she said. “I am extremely sorry for causing any disturbance. I don't know how and when this all started.”

But she added that she was pleading guilty because she really wants to vote for her country.

Asked by magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo if is she was feeling humiliated, she responded: “Yes, I'm mortified.”

Mr Farge added that Day, who had arrived on Wednesday, had spent time in jail, had “made up” with Ms Shiell and was hoping to return to Bermuda next year.

He requested a conditional discharge, which Mr Tokunbo granted for a period of 12 months.

“I'm going to take it that this public humiliation has been enough for you and it's not going to happen again,” Mr Tokunbo added.

Ms Shiell, meanwhile, was granted $1,000 bail and will reappear in court for mention tomorrow.

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

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Published November 07, 2016 at 3:09 pm (Updated November 07, 2016 at 3:09 pm)

Journalist admits Front Street fight

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