Johnston Found Not Guilty Of Assaulting Senator

March 19, 2015

46-year-old Victor Johnston was found not guilty today [Mar 19] of assaulting Senator Jeff Baron, with the Court also acquitting him on all other counts.

Mr Johnston had pleaded not guilty to unlawfully assaulting Senator Jeff Baron and causing him bodily harm; and to unlawfully damaging a shirt belonging to Mr. Baron and valued at $88. The incident occurred at the Hamilton Parish Swizzle Inn on 27th August 2014.

Mr Johnston had also pleaded not guilty to having care and control of a vehicle while his ability to exercise good care and control was impaired; and not guilty to refusing to take a breath test.

In a Magistrate’s Court ruling this afternoon, Magistrate Archie Warner ruled that Mr Johnston, who was represented by Charles Richardson, was to be acquitted on all four counts.

Regarding the altercation with Senator Baron, the Magistrate said that Senator Baron had bypassed a Swizzle Inn Security officer who was handling the situation, and had inserted himself into a matter.

The Magistrate said that a more appropriate response by Senator Baron would have been to call the police.

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Comments (68)

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  1. nomoremoney says:

    Warner always amazes me with his rulings. Security at the bars is a joke

    • smh says:

      Jeff Baron is a joke…he has no right to interfere with other patrons…Warner just showed him he can’t do anything he wants cause his a senator.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      He seems to live in another world – he would never make it as a Judge in the US Judicial System!!

      • Todd says:

        Must you set the ‘bar’, no pun intended, so low. Surely you jest, Warner would be right at home in the US Judicial system!!!

      • common sense says:

        Try that stuff like Jeff in the US… thats some crazy brazen pokin

    • A Little Wisdom says:

      Did you see his ruling with regard to the rider colliding with the taxi on the causeway. I always thought that the 1st rule of the road was to drve in a manner such that you could safely stop within the distance immediately ahead of you. It seems that this is not so any more. Yes, the taxi should not have been there and the driver should have been charged under some section of the code. But, to say that he bore responsibility for the collision is puzzling to me.
      The clamping issue at the hospital is another in case. This case also involves other suspicious or questionable circumstances.

  2. Bermudian. says:

    Thanks.

    • frank says:

      I hope baron has understands that what he did. Was wrong

  3. Family Man says:

    The magistrate is sending a clear message to everyone; “See a (probable) crime? Don’t get involved. Go on about your own business and just hope your friends and family don’t become victims.”

    Nice.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      This guy Warner has always been rather bizarre with his interpretation of the laws – over the years!! I thought he had retired a while back!!

      • Todd says:

        It’s the way of the world I’m afraid and has been since the beginning of time. The law and the interpretation of same has often been at odds it seems. Surely you don’t need examples.

  4. Robert says:

    Robin where was your batman… baron, you over stepped your boundaries son…smdh …..OBA all the way!!!

  5. NO MORE WAR says:

    Perhaps the Senator should have called the police prior to approaching Mr. Johnston. I am sort of on the fence on this issue. If the Senator who is an ex-police officer and junior minister for National Sexutiry failed to act and Mr. Johnston drive out of Swizzle and killed someone he would have been chastised for failing to act. You are damned if you do damned if you don’t.

    • mj says:

      EX__EX EX cop….he is only minister, he cannot be expected to be everything to everyone everywhere thats why they had their own security who was on the job and had everything under control already..get of the fence, the magistrate ruled correctly.

      • BDA15 says:

        The security guard obviously did not have it under control, because Mr.Johnson was in the car and ready to drive off, when Mr Barron had to reach in and take his keys away.

      • Mr Stevens says:

        Oh you’re choking? Sorry, I’m an EX doctor, can’t help you.

        • mixitup says:

          The guy didn’t ask for Barons help did he? Baron tried to judge him, convict him… who says the guy was even drunk. Oh yea Baron said it…

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      *****BINGO*****

  6. JohnBoy says:

    Wow, didn’t see that coming…

  7. know dat says:

    Dats dat dea Richardson & the young bie Hill team. Great result. I said from d start that Baron should have left d guy alone.

  8. David G says:

    Wow. Just wow

  9. Brenda says:

    So glad for this result. I watched the news and it was great to see how happy the guy was. Great response from Mr. Richardson, couldn’t have said it any better.

    • sage says:

      This case, and the way we take drunk driving as a joke, is beyond ridiculous, the case was about Baron claiming he was assaulted and the judge throws out all charges including refusing the breathalyzer, an automatic guilty, culprit ought to be happy

  10. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Lesson learned. Next time let him drive down the road and crash his car. That’s what some do these days with impunity. Poor walls don’t stand a chance and don’t get in the way of a bus either…you’ll get flattened!

  11. WhistleBlower says:

    This case should have NEVER gone to court!!! Proof that too many people are wasting the courts time with frivolous charges.
    Maybe the BPS could use this case as a benchmark for unwarranted charges. Smdh!!!

  12. Mark says:

    I guess they should’ve covered baby seat dodging in his military courses.

    Though I have to admit I didn’t think Boy Wonder would have the cojones to chase after an alleged assailant without calling Milkman for backup first.

  13. Trust NOT says:

    Poetic Justice

    • Family Man says:

      Spelling. The word is spelled pathetic.

      • Todd says:

        The fact that you felt the need to comment is indeed pathetic.

  14. G'd Up says:

    Once a cop always a cop. Let it go bie!!!!

  15. Future Alliance says:

    So much for Ken (without Barbie) trying to be Action Man, pretty boy thing getting boring, all these photo ops and the whole bodyguard thing, like really.

  16. A Little Wisdom says:

    Here we go again. What sense would it be to call the police if Mr. Johnson was not detained at the site by the security person? And, generally, the police are not that swift in responding to most calls. Once he left the premises he would have been a danger to other road users, if he was in deed intoxicated.

    I wonder if mr Johnson had held a knife to someone and was threatening to hurt another, whether it would have been appropriate to intervene then. If such a situation was to occur as has been so in the past, he, the Senator, would have been hailed as a hero.

    Is it the law, or is it the magistrate?

    There was another case in point yesterday were the decision or comments of the court concerned me and seemed at odds with my thinking.

  17. Sky Pilot says:

    Considering this happened on PRIVATE Land and not the Public Highway,there was really no other verdicts for the charges of care and control of a vehicle while his ability to exercise good care and control was impaired or refusing to take a breath test.

    I am surprised the Police even considered charging VJ

    JB should never have taken the actions he did.

    Go buy another shirt and hope you are not charged JB.

  18. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Pompous, this “senator”, wake up Dunks! Not worthy of his place at your side. This case perfectly sums up Baron’s attitude toward others – saw it with my own four eyes!

    • Hurricane says:

      Paradise Reclaimed, as soon as you wake up, you will see that they are birds of a feather

  19. Mockingjay says:

    Sorry Captain America, you are not above the Law.
    That’s the problem they are having in America now, some people feel that they have a God given right to usurp because they have an authoritative position.
    Vigilante Justice WILL not be tolerated in this country.

  20. Creamy says:

    And next time a dui driver kills or maims someone you will all be saying “someone should DO something”.

  21. Trulytruly says:

    No mention of the security. I know there has been a change of faces down there since the event. No need to wonder why.

  22. Family Man says:

    The next time somebody has a few drinks at a bar and drives off and kills someone, I don’t want to hear a single utterance from the numbnuts here about how the bar bears some responsibility and someone should have stopped him driving drunk.

    Not a single word.

    • Redman says:

      @ Family Man,

      Exactly!!!

    • stunned... says:

      Family Man – i agree 1000%. this is a case of a good samaritan getting slapped in the face for doing the right thing.

  23. respect says:

    It’s not what you do is how you go about doing it.

  24. Coffee says:

    And if you think for one moment that Jeff ‘Captain America ‘ Baron has learned a lesson ! I wouldn’t bet your nelly ! Trespassing on someone’s person , shame on the fake superhero !!!

    • Creamy says:

      And the constitutional right to stop someone about to commit a crime has been weakened.
      Just as long as you get to make a stupid comment out of it, that’s all that counts for you, isn’t it.

  25. Second says:

    We-all must follow the law. None of us is above it. Sen Baron acted with good intentions but that matter could have blown up in his face had mr Johnson been a different type of person. My Grandma used to say” the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. A lesson for us all not to take the law in our own hands.

  26. Now… i am far from sayin common sense doesn’t dictate, however does learned magistrate recognise Senator Barons’ police training and sense of civic duty…. as in all law there is civic duty to uphold, protect and serve is a thing we must all see to here and there… now and then…. I will still commend Mr. Baron…. sense of service… maybe police service has a place in training departmental staffing… here and there now and then, he has experience, the domestic is a ticklish situation that all dread attending, and with good reason, you leave yourself vulnerable hence the need, necessity of a third person, senior pc or above, some one who can and has inflected fact from observation and can attest to verocity and fact, from emotion nor exageration or lapse of attention,( witness training 101).As an MP a duty was observed, with police training… and maybe zeal was apparent, due to capt. America “statment/ description/ condescend.) HE, Mr. Baron chose to interscede… at least he made. N effort. It is in fact, was more of a conscern not to let a person he thought drive enebriated, andcthereby harm… possibly kill, or main lawful drivers and pedestrians, children, animals, crabs, cockeroaches, rats etc……. butan effort was made, and if not and some one perish because no one stepped in? What then? bragadotious barrister… said i called him capt. America… if that is what you brag about… then… call him capt. Bermuda… or capt Swizzle!…. and be grateful someone cared enough. Could have been a loved one of yours he prevented from being run ovah! One last thing… at that time we were in the throughs of being innundated with knockdowns where people just kept on going…

  27. ROGER says:

    I scarcely read up on this case. If Citizen’s Arrest is still allowed in BDA make sure there are two trying to have a person be better. In the end The Magistrate said & acted Right.

  28. swing voter says:

    I’m not defending either party as actions may have been influenced by intoxicants….as a moped rider, I dread the thought of anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle that can literally ruin my quality of life because he’s not fit to drive….if anything positive came of this debacle, everyone is alive and well

  29. Triangle Drifter says:

    So the Senator was right to prevent a drunk from driving but he was wrong to be right in preventing a possible injury to somebody down the road because of a drunk driver.

    Is that the way it is?

    We live in one screwed up society don’t we.

    Does anyone really believe that the onsite security guy would have really stopped the drunk from driving? As long as he got out the gate that is all the security guy had to worry about.

    Had the Senator been the drunk & the drunk been the one to stop him from driving, the drunk would be called a national hero & those putting the Senator down would be wanting to give the drunk an award.

    • Creamy says:

      The magistrate screwed up. The crown should appeal. I agree with you. Anybody has a legal right to use force to prevent a crime.
      Warner should retire, he’s past it.

  30. Future Alliance says:

    so much for being Action Man, photo op culture and bodyguard thing is getting boring……..can we shift gears to the 2,000 + 1,500 new jobs please

  31. Muhammad Goldberg says:

    I have to drive on these roads with my wife and 3 children and I have no problem with someone who tries to stop another person from driving drunk. The intentions were good regardless of the legal outcome

  32. Family Man says:

    We might have a new catch phrase:

    Swizzle In, Swagger Out, Drive Home.

  33. DUH says:

    Is everyone forgetting the guy was not proved to be intoxicated.

  34. Betty Rech says:

    I think he was being proactive and trying to prevent something that could have gone really wrong.

    if the driver had gone done the road caused an accident and killed one of your family members or a friend or the people in his car

    then what?????

  35. What's that? says:

    So if Baron had stood by and watched this man get in his car drive down the road drunk and kill one of your family members what would you say??? OH right….. Baron was there and did nothing! He is an EX-Police officer and should have seen he was drunk and done something! I am so sick and tired of Bermudians and their flip flop attitude and lack of accountability!! ( I am not an expat)

    • Facts over Political hats!! says:

      Mr Baron was the one drinking….you have the facts twisted. ….take off your love for Baron read the facts first. ..Baron was Wrong. …big time

  36. Charles says:

    Some of you have missed the point. There was NO evidence that he was drunk. The fact that he was walking strange was explained as being due to the two rods in his back from when he broke it some years ago. The senator himself was drinking rum and coke on his own admission. No one could say what or if anything Mr Johnson drank. The senator himself said the noise from my clients table was loud but of the pleasant celebratory sort. No evidence he was drunk.

    Tens of thousand of your taxpayers dollars was used to bring this case. Do you realise that? A witness for Mr Baron was flown in at our expense only to be shredded on cross examination. The judge gave guidance. He said Mr Baron should have approached security first….which the video footage showed he made no effort to do despite them being right in front of his face. And then dial 911 and give the plate number. Furthermore, the evidence from Mr barons own girlfriend was that security had indicated that they would make sure he got home ok if the senator was so concerned.

    Mr Baron was wrong. ok. And I for one do not want someone who does what he thinks is right despite the law in charge of our affairs. What if one day he makes a planning or immigration or licensing decision (cause he could be in a ministry one day) and does what he thinks is right despite the law saying he is wrong? What happens when its you or your loved one whose legal right or entitlement is thwarted by a minister who does what he thinks is right…..and not what the law passed by our elected representatives demands?

    Finally, the judge expressed in open court that he did not believe that the senator had been truthful about some things under oath….now that should concern you. Can you trust a person who displays those qualities? Its a matter for you. But in my opinion this should be pause for concern.

    • Noncents says:

      @ Charles

      quite a leap you make there- comparing his actions (whether right or wrong) that were obviously intended to stop someone from drinking and driving versus the suggestion that he is somehow unfit to make policy decisions without breaking the law.

      • Facts over Political hats!! says:

        Well said Charles many have missed the key facts in regards to this case. Some folks just can not take off their political hats for real clarity. …..well said

    • Charlly X says:

      Well said Mr Richardson ! Well said !! I can tell you went to Somerset Primary . The truth is an of fence but not a sin .. I’m disgusted at the nerve of Mr Baron to bring this matter to Court at the taxpayers expense . Including the department of prosecution knowing this case had big holes . Smh I guess his feelings are really hurting just as much as his Ego .
      As the quote says ” think of what you can do for your country ” not the opposite !! Then you. can achieve more in your country . Wasn’t he a policeman or had similar training ? Was this a case of suspected Dui or a senator under the influence ! I do respect his motive if the guy was drunk ! I’ve fought friends for their keys in the past !

  37. ac says:

    Flip Wilson (Geraldine) used to say “The devil made me do it”.

  38. Rasta says:

    When does the magistrate retire?

    • Mockingjay says:

      When it is Legalized.

    • Legal Eagle says:

      Warner is already past retirement age(65)-but was extended! Given his history of bizzare rulings-especially this one -which will likely cost innocent lives in the future -hopefully he will be retired soon!

  39. Ray says:

    I personally know both these guys. Both good people. Sometimes good people make poor choices. In this case the poor judgment was made by the defendant and also by the judge. He’s lucky he got off and happy for him for getting off, but I am also happy Jeff over stepped his boundaries for the safety of the Johnston family and the community.

  40. Charlly X says:

    I’d help out for free !

  41. Inabermystylie says:

    That’s right Bermuda…if you see a crime or wrong doing…do nothing! Call the police if you want, they wont do anything. But don’t say a word to me if I stand by and watch your mother, or father, or son or daughter getting robbed, or beaten up…it doesn’t pay to be nice anymore. It doesn’t pay to try and protect our community. Bunch of vile hypocrites!