Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
MEMBER OF Parliament Ernie Smith might just have become the butt of a new round of jokes. Despite his impassioned plea in February for tougher penalties for buggery convicts, the South West St Ann representative, who is also an attorney-at-law, was in court last week strongly defending a man charged with - you guessed it - buggery.
So strident was Smith in defence of his client in the St Ann Circuit Court that although pleading guilty to the charge, the accused was able to walk away with just a suspended sentence.
Smith later defended his action, saying he was upholding the tenets of his profession.
"I am a professional person; anyone who confides in me and believes in me that I will properly represent them in any case, provided I take the case, I give that person my 100 per cent expertise," Smith explained.
Lenford Adams, 23, of Alexandria, St Ann, was brought before Justice Leighton Pusey on a charge of buggery on February 23.
Allegations presented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Natalie Brooks are that on August 19, 2007, the accused entered the room of his female cousin and began fondling her, and buggered her afterwards.
Adams pleaded guilty but sentencing was put off until March 6.
No deviant behaviour
When the case was heard last Friday, Smith pleaded with the judge not to send Adams to prison, arguing that his client had never before run afoul of the law.
Based on the probation report, Smith said, his client had never displayed any deviant behaviour and co-existed well with others in his community.
Smith's stout-hearted defence was in stark contrast to his lambasting of gays and buggery - the main sexual expression among homosexual males - in a presentation to Parliament last month.
But in court Friday, Smith changed his tune on buggery.
"My view on a particular behaviour in the Jamaican society has nothing to do with my professionalism. It has nothing to do with the quality of representation that I give every person who retains me to defend them," Smith said.