Man says violence made him use fake documents to get passport
A man who pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a passport, told the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Thursday that he committed the act because he wanted to flee the island due to the high level of crime.
For the last 25 years Jamaica recorded on average 1,270 murders annually, the vast majority being committed with illegal firearms.
"At the time I was a teenager. It was my neighbour that did it for me because of the violence in the community," Donell Ricketts informed Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque.
Ricketts pleaded guilty to making a false declaration, obtaining a passport by means of forged documents and uttering forged documents. He said he was "about 17 years old" at the time of the offence in 2002.
The prosecution, however, contended that the defendant was 19 at the time of the offence.
The circumstances of his arrested were not made clear in court.
For making a false declaration and for obtaining a passport by means of forged documents, Ricketts was fined $30,000 or face six months' imprisonment on each count.
He was fined $40,000 or six months' imprisonment for uttering forged documents.
Ricketts was allowed two weeks to pay the fines.