Javonnie Silburn, the man accused of shining a laser at a police helicopter in 2015, was found guilty of causing harassment, alarm or distress Thursday following a judge-alone trial in the court of Magistrate Grace Donalds. Silburn will be sentenced on Jan. 15 following a social inquiry report.
The 22-year-old admitted shining a red laser at the helicopter on one occasion, but a police witness testified that he did it “no less than three” times. Magistrate Donalds said Thursday that it “strains the credulity” of the court to accept the defendant’s evidence, and she also said Silburn was “not impressive” as a witness.
Silburn’s trial began in September but had to be adjourned after one of the police witnesses embarked on a hurricane relief mission in Turks and Caicos.
Silburn was picked out by the technical officer aboard the police helicopter, who testified that he was able to identify the defendant by his distinctive Afro hairstyle. The officer kept an on-board camera trained on the suspect until officers on the ground approached to take him into custody, and he testified in court that he was “100 percent sure” that the right person had been arrested.
The magistrate said Thursday that the defense case could have been bolstered by calling more witnesses.
Following the news of his conviction in Magistrate Donalds’s court, Silburn had to go to the court of Magistrate Valdis Foldats, where he had to plead to a number of offenses, some of which dated back to 2014.
Silburn pleaded guilty to two counts of damage to property and one count of causing fear or provocation of violence, and he pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of assault causing actual bodily harm and causing fear or provocation of violence. He also pleaded not guilty to several traffic offenses, and he will be back in Summary Court for a case management hearing and trial date on Dec. 5.