A 16-year-old male from Central Kingstown was on Monday given another opportunity to make something of himself after a magistrate decided not to give him a criminal record over the theft of a tube of skin bleaching cream.
The teenager pleaded guilty to a charge that he stole a tube of skin bleaching cream from Coreas City Story earlier that day.
The cream was valued at EC$8.
The court heard that about 8:15 a.m., the youngsters entered the store and went to the cosmetics section.
He took up a box of Symba skin lightening cream, removed the tube from the carton, threw the carton into the garbage and put the tube of cream into his underwear then left the store.
A security guard who was monitoring the young man’s actions pursued him and carried him back into the store, where a search of his person revealed the cream.
The police were summoned and the young man was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department.
He was cautioned but made no statement and was brought before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias at the Serious Offences Court around 2 p.m.
He pleaded guilty to the charge and asked the magistrate for another chance.
The chief magistrate further questioned the young man, who said that it was not the first time that he had stolen skin bleaching cream from the store.
He further revealed to the court that the Family Court had issued a compulsory schooling order for him and that he had since enrolled at a vocational institution.
During mitigation, it was revealed that the youth, who has four other siblings, lives alone, as his mother has described him as miserable.
He further told the court that while he lives alone, he gets his meals from his mother, who has four other children — he being the second.
The magistrate told the teen that he would not have had to appear before her had it not been for certain circumstances that were not in his favour.
“This is what happens when parents don’t do their duty,” she said, adding that some parents are very fond of their children when they are infants but allow them to go astray as they get older, then declare that they cannot control the children.
“At age 16, you have no business living on your own to be fending for yourself,” she told the young man, but added that at the same time, at that age he should know better than to shoplift.
The young man told the magistrate that he uses the skin bleaching cream on his face to remove spots that resulted from his digging his pimples with his fingernails.
The magistrate told him that the spots would go away with time if he stops digging his face with his fingernail. She further told him that lime juice can help to remove the spots without the bleaching effect.
The magistrate issued a restitution order for the cream, and also invoked Section 37, which means that in the eyes of the law, the youth has never been convicted of an offence and has a clean criminal record.
‘You need to go to school and try to get a trade. Tradesmen make plenty money,” she said.
“And work on your manners, too,” she added as the youth was exiting the court.