A lawyer for Elephant Man says he intends to request video footage of the dancehall artiste, who was recently charged for a breach of Jamaica’s Immigration laws at one of the country’s airports.
On March 17, the Energy God, who was on tour in Europe, allegedly tried to avoid being subjected to quarantine by not disclosing that he had traveled to Germany, a country the island had placed travel restrictions on to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Rygin King and his team, who arrived on the same March 17 flight at the Sangster International Airport, declared their travel history in full and allegedly protested the fact that another artiste was allowed through without hassle. Despite making a public apology, Elephant Man was eventually charged on March 23 under Section 8 (5) of the Immigration Act, which stipulates that arrivals in Jamaica must make a truthful declaration to immigration officers about their recent travel history.
The deejay’s lawyer, Christopher Townsend, told the Jamaica Observer today that they will soon make a formal request for the video evidence. “We have already written the letter which will be submitted to the prosecutor so that we can formally request the video footage of Elephant Man in the immigration area in the airport,” Townsend said.
The charge only carries a fine of $100JMD, according to precedent.
The entertainer, whose real name is Oneal Bryan, appeared to the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court via a teleconference hearing on April 24.
The next court date is scheduled for September 4.
Speaking to the STAR on April 27, Townsend said Elephant Man‘s apology may have been premature and “may have made him sound like he might be guilty.” He added, “but sometimes you think that you are and you’re not. When we review the footage we will see if there is a defence that needs to be explored. If there is a defence, it will be explored. If there is nothing to defend, I will advise my client directly.”
Bryan has faced harsh public criticism over the controversy including a blistering Instagram rebuke from fellow dancehall artiste, Mr. Vegas who called Elephant Man’s actions selfish and irresponsible.
Elephant Man, 44, completed his government mandated quarantine sometime around April 5 and took to Instagram to urge his followers to take the pandemic seriously. “Yes father god up an thank full just want to say 14 days of qurantine and am feeling great but to every one out there be safe this Coronavirus a no joke so everyone listen to the authorities stay home less contact take care of the family and stay bless it’s for your own safety”, he said.
In an apparent bid to further mitigate the fallout from the controversy and the immigration case, the artiste released a new song titled Quarantine on May 6.
In the song, he again offers words of caution to fans, urging them to listen to the authorities when it comes to the pandemic. “Onnu betta listen di advisor, Ministry of Health or the health organizer dem yah time yah. Tan inna oonu yard,” Bryan sings.