KINGSTON, Jamaica – A pastor of a Kingston church was the star of the prisoner’s dock last week inside the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, after he appeared before the judge for hitting his common law- wife because she called him a “homosexual”.
Ricardo Bryson, 33, minister of religion of a Spanish Town Road address in Kingston, found himself on the wrong side of the law and his reputation at risk after he was arrested and charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.
The pastor told the court that he lashed out at his spouse and hit her after she insulted him during a quarrel at their home on June 18.
But before explaining why he had hit his lady he tried to paint a reputable picture of himself, but was stopped in his tracks by the Parish Judge Chester Crooks.
“Both of us in a business and I am a minster of religion. I try to live a respectful life and the thing about me is that I always try to protect my reputation,” he said before the judge told him to get to the point.
“Listen Sir, the clerk asks you if you guilty and you said yes, so we are waiting for an explanation. And frankly, I don’t know why you want to start by announcing that you are a minister of religion,” the judge said amidst laughter from the court.
In continuing, Bryson said that he and his companion had a verbal confrontation during a discussion about one of his acquaintances who persons were calling a homosexual.
But he said that during the argument she turned to him and said, “ …That’s why dem call you homosexual.”
“So you hit her?” the judge asked.
“Yes,” the pastor answered while agreeing with the judge that he did it because he felt insulted.
The judge then asked the complainant what she wanted to happen to her partner and she said: “I just want him to be disciplined because he had no right to hit me, and what he did was wrong.”
However, when asked if they were still together she said that they were trying to work out their issues, and begged the judge to give Bryson a chance.
During further queries from the judge she said that it was the first time that Bryson had hit her.
The judge then told her that he would be as lenient as possible but indicated that he had a serious problem with men abusing women. But he also stressed that he equally is not very tolerable of women hitting men.
“But since you boldly announced that you are a minister of religion, I don’t understand why you putting your hands on anybody like that,” he told Bryson.
At the same time, he told the pastor that while he understood that things happen in the heat of the moment, he could see that humility was not his strongest trait and that he was now a part of the country’s crime statistics.
He then ordered Bryson to apologise to the complainant and he complied.
“I am sorry for offending you and for hitting you, and it should never have happened and it won’t happen again,” he said.
Judge Crooks then told the complainant that he will yield to her wishes and no evidence was offered against Bryson.
But before dismissing the pastor he told him: “I want you to remember that the reason you are walking away a free man with no criminal record is because of her.”