Thursday 5th June 2003
All content © New Journal Enterprises, 2003.

Finley Quaye: remorse
Judge’s jail threat to reggae singer
REGGAE star Finley Quaye narrowly avoided a prison sentence on Friday after admitting assaulting two women outside his Hampstead home.
But he was warned that if he failed to attend an anger management course, he would be brought back to court and jailed.

And the singer angered the judge when his mobile phone rang as submissions were being made about the sentence to be handed down. District Judge Quick was visibly infuriated when the call tone – the theme tune to television show The Dukes of Hazard – echoed round Highbury Corner magistrate’s court.

Judge Quick told Quaye: “I view that as contempt of court. There is a very large sign at the door telling you to turn your phone off.
“Perhaps you would like to take that call and tell whoever it is that you are sitting in a court that has the power to send you to jail for six months.”

The 29-year-old singer, who lives in Perrin’s Court, had pleaded guilty to assaulting his former partner and her friend in front of a four-year-old child in April. The judge was considering pleas that a heavy fine might be appropriate, when his phone rang.

Mr Rob Johnson, defending, told the court that Quaye admitted the offence as soon as he was arrested and has shown “a lot of remorse for his behaviour”.

Quaye had registered on an anger management course – but ordering him to attend during his forthcoming tour would be difficult for him. Mr Quaye had suggested that Ms Guiterrez attend anger management classes with him.

But Judge Quick rebuffed the idea, saying: “It would not be proper to deal with this business with a fine, as he could easily pay that.”
She imposed a community rehabilitation order, and ordered Quaye to attend anger management classes for 24 weeks and pay £300 compensation to each of his victims, who had “suffered bruising and injury to their feelings”.

Judge Quick told Quaye: “Domestic violence is an extremely serious matter and when it is witnessed by a child it can damage them for life. You have a quick temper and you must learn to control it.”
Judge Quick added: “If you are ever tempted to fail to turn up you will be brought back here and sentenced to jail.”

Outside the court, the singer, whose 1997 album Maverick A Strike rocketed him to fame, said: “It’s the women who need anger management, not me. That’s all I have to say.”

The assault happened outside Quaye’s house in April, said Edmund Hall, prosecuting.

The court was told that Quaye’s former partner, Mercedes Guiterrez, mother of his child, had brought his four-year-old son to his house. During an argument, Quaye grabbed Ms Guiterrez’s wrists and pushed her, causing bruising.

Ms Guiterrez’s friend Kay Stratton ran to help, and was kicked by Quaye in the chest. Ms Stratton’s son was standing next to her and witnessed the assault.

Mr Johnson said that in an “emotional” three-hour interview at Holborn police station, Quaye told police he had just finished a stressful business call when Ms Guiterrez came to the door with his son.
Mr Johnson said the argument that led to the assault was due to frustration at not having seen his son for eight months.

Mr Quaye had now resolved his arguments with Ms Guiterrez over access to his son. He had no previous convictions for violence.