By Latrishka Thomas
The woman who caused mass hysteria after she violated self-quarantine regulations and beat a nurse was ordered to pay $5,500 yesterday.
But before she was sentenced, 25-year-old Marielis Horsford apologised to the nurse in court.
“I would like to apologise for my behaviour at Hawksbill hotel,” Horsford told her victim, Soria Dupie-Winston, president of the Nurses’ Association.
The healthcare worker accepted the apology but requested that the defendant make an apology to residents of the twin island nation – and advocate for compliance with self-quarantine rules.
Horsford’s lawyer said a letter had been sent to the Prime Minister and state media to that effect, but obliged and urged persons to abide by quarantine orders on her behalf.
Horsford, who is from the Dominican Republic and resides in Miami, pleaded guilty to three of four charges when she appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh in St John’s Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
She admitted to beating the nurse, damaging her gown and leaving home despite being under orders to isolate.
However, Horsford pleaded not guilty to using insulting language, a charge which was withdrawn.
Her lawyer, Wendel Robinson, then mitigated for a lenient sentence, noting that her job had been affected, she was a first-time offender, had shown remorse, and tested negative for the virus.
“In us all lurks the tendency towards lawlessness,” Robinson opined while not excusing her behaviour.
The magistrate sentenced Horsford to pay $500 restitution to the nurse and $5,000 to the court for violating self-quarantine.
She was reprimanded for the charge of malicious damage.
The defendant arrived in Antigua in early June and was ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, but on June 25 the quarantine authority received word that the woman was not complying with the instruction and she was later found at a tattoo studio.
She was detained and taken to the Hawksbill resort, which operates as a government quarantine facility, and later charged.
The next day, while in custody at the hotel, the nurse, a doctor and a Defence Force soldier came to Horsford’s room and showed her the results of her Covid-19 test. Horsford asked to take a photo of the results and, upon being denied by the nurse twice, she attacked the worker.
The soldier had to intervene and the complainant made a report to police.
Horsford is the first individual charged by the state for non-compliance to a self-quarantine order.