Would-be hijacker remains silent

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Staring nine counts of illegal possession of a firearm, shooting with intent and robbery with aggravation in the face, accused attempted hijacker Stephen Fray wasn’t about to look at any of the two judges in court yesterday.

Instead, the 21-year-old’s head remained bent, shoulders slumped, and not once did he utter a word as he stood before Justice Betram Morrison in the Regional Gun Court in Montego Bay.

An hour later, while answering the charges of assault at common law and breaches of the Airport Act, Fray had to be tapped on the shoulder three times before he stood up in Resident Magistrate Viviene Harris’ court, and the RM was not fortunate to receive even an acknowledgement from him.

“He hasn’t said a word since he was arrested, nothing to any official,” said his attorneys, George and Martin Thomas.

Martin Thomas said that since the airport incident, his client has only confirmed his name. Efforts to get a clear-cut comment from two local psychiatrists, Drs Wendel Abel and Earl Wright, on the accused’s body language and absence of speech proved futile.

Whether or not Stephen Fray is able to give investigating officers and his lawyers a statement on the events surrounding the attempted hijacking of a CanJet aircraft at the Sangster International Airport on Sunday, April 19, the law recognises that he has to have a lawyer representing him, stated his attorneys.

And so his first appearance in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate’s Court since his arrest on Monday, April 20, which was expected to have garnered a lot of excitement from onlookers, was on the sombre side.

No fanfare

Wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans, Fray was second to last on the chain of seven handcuffed accused who were escorted into the courtroom by four Island Special Constabulary Force officers and a member of the Kingfish squad.

His entrance was with little or no fanfare, and it almost seemed unnecessary to have had the heavy police guard that was in place.

“We anticipated a crowd and had extra officers in place,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Michael Garrick, who is investigating the case, told The Gleaner.

In court yesterday were Nathan Robb and Stacy-Ann Young, representing the Airports Authority of Jamaica, and Lt Col Patrick Cole, on behalf of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Stephen Fray will return to court on May 18.