Sizzla avoids jail for Jamaican cursing conviction
May 20 2005 11:00 PM ET
Reggae star Sizzla won a court appeal of his profanity sentence in Jamaica on Wednesday and will pay a small fine instead of going to jail for using foul language at a performance. The Jamaican performer, whose real name is Miguel Collins, was convicted in February after a court heard evidence that he repeatedly used expletives during a reggae show a month earlier, despite being warned against it. The court sentenced him to 15 days in prison after he refused to perform 20 hours of community service.
Sizzla appealed, and the court of appeal ruled he should pay a fine of just $32.79 ($2,000 Jamaican) instead of serving time. It was the first time in Jamaica that a musician was sentenced to prison time for using profanity. He was charged with using expletives onstage under the Town and Community Act, a British colonial-era public order law that prohibits indecent dress or expression. Jamaican police have been cracking down on onstage profanity. Several artists have been arrested and found guilty but opted to do community service or pay small fines.
Sizzla has had several brushes with the law over the last five years and has had concerts canceled because of lyrics that attack gays and lesbians. Police said that they were still questioning him over the discovery weeks ago of guns and ammunition on a property he owns in the village of August Town, north of the capital. (Reuters)