Bus driver in viral video charged with assaulting female passenger, damaging her phone

The bus driver who was on Monday fined $80,000 after pleading guilty to several traffic offences, was today charged with assaulting a female passenger and damaging her cell phone.  28-year-old Josh Harry of Back Road, Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The first charge stated that on April 12, 2021, at Houston Public Road Greater, Georgetown, he assaulted 47-year-old Odella Peroune of Pearl, East Bank Demerara. it was further alleged that on the same day at the said place, he unlawfully damage one cell phone screen valued $40,000. Harry was ordered to post $5,000 bail on each charge. He is due back in court on May 14, 2021.

Harry was arrested by the Police last week after a video surfaced of him on social medial harassing the female passenger who had politely asked him to lower the music in his bus. On Monday, he appeared before Senior Magistrate Clive Nurse charged with several traffic offences.

He was slapped with five charges, namely breach of condition of road service license, making loud and continuous noise, conduct of driver, failing to carry a conductor, and conduct of driver. He pleaded guilty to all the offences which were committed on April 12, 2021, at Houston Public Road Greater, Georgetown. He was fined a total of $80,000 or in default five weeks’ imprisonment.

Facts presented by Police Prosecutor Sanj Jaisingh stated that on the day in question, Harry was the driver of route 42 minibus BYY 8024, which was proceeding north along Houston Public Road, when Peroune, complained to him about loud, and continuous music which was becoming a nuisance.

The court heard the driver stopped the bus in a rash manner, approached the passenger, and snatched her cell phone out of her hand.  In the process of doing so, he hit her on her mouth, causing his conduct as a driver of public transportation, to be inappropriate. The matter was then reported and an investigation was carried out.

A licensing and certifying officer searched the bus and discovered the following: two six-inch Faital Pro Speakers, two eight-inch Faital Pro Speakers, a 1000 watt power amplifier, and an Audiopipe- all instruments of music that were not authorized by the prescribed authority.

The Prosecutor asked the Magistrate to impose maximum fines to send a clear message to other minibus operators. Harry has since paid his fine.