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Aubrey Daniels pleads not guilty to Illegal Entry; Remanded to HMP

Aubrey Daniels pleads not guilty to Illegal Entry; Remanded to HMP

Former Government employee Aubrey Daniels, 59, of Duffs Bottom, has pleaded not guilty to Illegal Entry and Giving False Information to Police and has been remanded to Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) in Balsam Ghut.

Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin said during his arraignment hearing on Thursday, September 3, 2020, that while in quarantine in custody, Daniels would undergo CoVID-19 tests before his return before the court on September 21, 2020, when she will decide on whether he will be granted bail or not.

The father of 12 children and US citizen, who has Belonger status, allegedly committed both offences on August 30, 2020.

Allegations


Prosecutor Ms Annjel X. Flax said on July 15, 2020, Ocean Dreams Water Taxi Charter Service received permission from the Ministry of Health to deliver three passengers to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands (USVI) on July 18, 2020. The defendant was a passenger.

When the boat departed St Thomas, she said, only crew members were on board.

Fast forward to August 31 2020; a Customs officer received information from a resident on Jost van Dyke that a Rastafarian man dressed in a black shirt and brownish coloured pants, who was boarding the ferry to go to Tortola, had entered the Territory illegally.

The resident claimed the man, who was later identified as the defendant, came into Jost van Dyke on a go-fast boat from the direction of the USVI.

After alerting the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), the Customs officer boarded the ferry and sat directly across from the defendant.

Upon their arrival at the West End ferry dock, the defendant was intercepted by three police officers.

False information


Ms Flax said when the officers asked the defendant his name, he was not truthful and gave his name as ‘Aubrey Smith’ of Duffs Bottom.

He also told officers that he did not have any identification on him; however, when he was searched, a wallet was uncovered with a Virgin Islands Drivers License bearing the name, ‘Aubrey Daniels’.

Conflicting responses


Daniels was later taken to the West End Police Station and then to the Road Town Police Station where he was interviewed under caution.

The defendant, according to the court, gave several conflicting responses to his whereabouts, all of which were proven to be incorrect.

He first said he was in the [British] Virgin Islands all the time and denied that he travelled to the USVI during the pandemic.

Daniels then changed his story when he was shown a manifest with his name listed among the passengers leaving for the USVI on July 18, 2020. He said he travelled there, but he returned on the same day.

That story was later changed when he was shown a copy of the return manifest showing only the two names of the crew members returning to the Territory.

He then said he remained in St Thomas for two weeks in quarantine and returned to the Territory just before Jost van Dyke went into lockdown mode.

Again, he was shown proof that the times were not adding up, including information from the ferry company that he did not travel between Tortola and Jost van Dyke or vice versa during July 18 to August 31, 2020.

He was then charged with the offences before the court.

Attorney-at-Law Mr Michael Maduro represents Mr Daniels.

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