Naturalist ‘Shango’ found guilty of using indecent, insulting and threatening language

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By Latrishka Thomas

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A well-known local naturalist – accused of threatening to kill his neighbour – was found guilty of three of the five charges brought against him.

Imhotep Heru Odada Shango-L – also named Nasir Odada Harris – was charged with disorderly conduct, indecent language, insulting language, threatening language and obstruction on September 25 last year after his neighbour reported the apparent threats.

A video that preceded Harris’ arrest was widely circulated on Facebook and caused the arresting officers to come under public criticism for the manner in which they handled the situation.

Police are said to have visited Harris’ home with a search warrant after the neighbour made the complaint.

In June this year, Harris, most commonly known as ‘Shango’, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and was ordered to return to court in September for his trial.

But his lawyer Sherfield Bowen did not appear and apparently did not provide the magistrate with an excuse. As a result, the court proceeded with the case.

The police witnesses in the case stated when officers when to his Cassada Gardens home with a warrant, Harris was shouting and chanting and behaving in a manner that forced them to handcuff him.

They also said that he called the police names such as “heathens”.

Yesterday, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh withdrew the charge of disorderly conduct because Harris was charged under the wrong section of the law; he had been charged with behaving in an unruly manner in public but the incident occurred in his home.

The charge of obstruction was also withdrawn because it was not made out in the trial.

The defendant was however convicted of the other three complaints but was merely reprimanded and discharged on the charges of indecent language and threatening language.

He was fined $500 for insulting the police with a default prison time of one month if he fails to pay by October 1.

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