Soca singer speaks out about indecent language charge

Nicole David says she is more informed about what she can and cannot say on stage.

Magistrate Michelle Louis fined Nicole David $400 to be paid by November 10 or in default face seven days imprisonment.  This follows the soca star’s guilty plea to a charge of Swearing or Using abusive or Indecent Language in Public Place (Section 508 of the Criminal Code).  According to that section, “Any person who in any public place, or to the hearing of the public—(a) swears; or (b) uses any abusive, indecent or obscene language; is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars.”
According to eyewitnesses, a visibly shaken David appeared in the D Court on Friday October 7 (wearing grey trousers, a red top and dangling silver earrings) where she retracted her earlier not guilty plea.
Corporal (Ag) 371 Sancha Clery related the details of the incident to the magistrate.  As the facts of the case stand, on Monday June 13 about 4:30pm on Micoud Street during Line Jam, Deputy Police Commissioner Moses Charles, who was responsible for the police security for the event, noticed the entertainer on a music truck. By his estimate, there were about three to four thousand revelers following the truck, dancing.  He then heard David using obscene words to the revelers. Charles said David repeatedly said, “Anybody who is not part of the band tiwe tjou-la.” The Creole words translate to “move your ass there.” As a result, Charles instructed three SSU officers to instruct David to get off the truck and brought to him.  When Charles met with David, he identified himself to her and informed her that it was an offence to use such words. He cautioned her to which she replied, “Officer, I am from St Vincent and heard someone using those words so I used it too.”  Charles then ordered her to be arrested and taken to central police station.
Corporal 154 George of the Criminal Investigations Department was assigned to investigate the matter.  He met David at Beat and Patrol on Bridge Street, Castries where he identified and cautioned her.  At that point she began to cry and said, “George I’m sorry. I was not aware that the words I used were obscene. I told the officer that I was sorry already.”
She was charged and informed of her rights.  In response to the charge, David gave a voluntary statement on the prescribed form where she admitted to the chain of events that led to her arrest, noting she was apologetic from the moment it was brought to her attention that her behaviour constituted an offense.
Speaking to the Queen of the Jungle after her sentencing, David told the STAR: “It was unfortunate and I was sad that I had to go through that ordeal.  It was embarrassing for me because I am somebody who has always upheld the law.  I am never disrespectful in any way to anyone so it was really hard for me.”
She explained her reason for changing her plea.  “I changed my plea because really and truly, I didn’t understand what exactly I was supposed to do because I was going with not guilty based on the fact that I did not know that it was an offense to say something like that but then what I should have said was guilty and then explained.”
Though she did not use obscene language while performing, she told the STAR the events leading up to the incident were influential.  “It was me working on the truck and I was just trying to get people who were not supposed to be in the band out.  The revelers were complaining to me and asked me to announce on the mike that non-band members should get out.  It can be quite frustrating at times as an artiste doing that.  I don’t know if it’s the security not doing their jobs or whether it’s just an uncontrollable thing but it puts artistes in a tough position.  The crowd started shouting it so I joined in.”
Though she accepts her responsibility in the matter, she is still puzzled at the situation.
“Over the years, I’ve heard people use obscene language at shows and on the road for carnival.  They chant obscenities so I just don’t get it.  It doesn’t change the fact that it is an offense and we must be more responsible.  That’s the bottom line.  Now that I know that, I am never going to be in this position again.”

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