Jamelle Cornley pleads not guilty to alarm and scandal charge
MANILA, Philippines — American basketball player Jamelle Cornley pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of causing alarm and scandal but his lawyer won a deferment of his arraignment on a charge of assaulting a policeman by asking for a reconsideration of the judge’s rejection of an earlier request for a formal preliminary investigation of the second charge.
Although Cornley was present in court at Tuesday’s proceedings, it was his lawyer, Lino Dumas, who entered the not guilty plea after waiving the reading of the alarm-and-scandal charge.
He then asked Judge Maria Gilda Pangilinan of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court’s Branch 31 to reconsider her previous denial of a “very urgent motion for the conduct of preliminary investigation” of the direct assault charge, which stemmed from the American cager’s alleged assault on Police Officer 2 Anselmo Lazatin of Quezon City Police’s Kamuning station.
She set a hearing of the motion for reconsideration on June 21 and the holding of a pre-trial conference on the alarm-and-scandal case on August 20.
In denying the American cager’s request for a reinvestigation of the charge, the judge said that a preliminary investigation was allowed only in criminal cases where the prescribed penalty is imprisonment of more than four years.
The revised rules of court specifically provide that a preliminary investigation is required to be conducted before the filing of a complaint or information for an offense where the prescribed penalty is at least four years, two months and one day.
In the motion for reconsideration Dumas argued that if the charge of direct assault had stemmed from his client allegedly punching a policeman, it would carry the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum term or four to six years of imprisonment. Thus, he added, a preliminary investigation was in order.
The charges against Cornley stemmed from a March 27 incident in which the American allegedly attacked Lazatin, who was with a group of policemen who were called in after the allegedly drunk player had caused a commotion at the Sir William’s Hotel on Timog Avenue in Barangay (village) South Triangle.
Cornley played forward for Pennsylvania State University’s Nittany Lions before joining last year the PBA’s Rain or Shine Elasto Paint team which he led to victory.
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