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Stanley Andrews will spend three months in jail for his crime. (iWN photo)
Stanley Andrews will spend three months in jail for his crime. (iWN photo)

A Vermont man was, on Thursday, jailed for three months for stealing EC$10 worth of dasheen from a farmer in the agricultural community two days earlier

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the sentence on Stanley Andrews, 42, one day after he pleaded guilty to the charge.

Andrews told the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court that he wanted the dasheen to cook.

However, the magistrate told the defendant that he has heard that explanation before, adding that when persons are convicted or plead guilty to similar charges, they come up with all sorts of excuses.

Burnett asked Andrews why he did not ask the owner, 47-year-old farmer Cornel Penniston, for some of the produce.

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“The culture of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is that you can beg her and she would give you. That’s rural life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Burnett told the self-confessed thief.

He noted that while the value of the stolen produce was EC$10, praedial larceny is a serious problem in SVG.

Meanwhile, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche told the court that the seriousness of the crime should not be lost in the value of the stolen items.

Delplesche, a former detective and inspector of police, told the court he has known Andrews since he (Delplesche) was attached to the Criminal Investigations Department.

Delplesche said that Andrews is what detectives refer to as a “faithful customer” – a reference to the frequency with which he runs afoul of the law.

The prosecutor said he has a particular stance on praedial larceny.

“People must feel, because they are not hearing,” Delplesche said and asked the court to impose a custodial sentence.

The magistrate said he listens to and reads comments in which people sometimes defend the actions of criminals, including trying to excuse the action of thieves of agricultural produce who are punished when caught.

Delplesche said he, too, hears those comments but said that the law is the law and that defence of criminality is outside of the culture of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“It is from that angle I take my cue — the hard working farmers,” the senior prosecutor said, adding that when farmers sow, they should be allowed to reap.

According to the record presented to the court, Andrews’ last conviction was in 2002.

However, Delplesche said he knew this was not the case.

19 replies on “Man jailed for stealing $10 dasheen”

  1. For $10 you all could have settled the matter out of courts. I think the punishment does fit the crime but he was just sending a message to the general public.

    1. Very strong signal sent! Enforcement and penalties must be consistent. Praedial Larceny tops the list as one of the greatest challenge face by our hard working Farmers. This sentence is an encouraging sign for youths to replenish our aging faming population. Without such replenisment food securty is compromised and food import bill will rise….Routine stop and search should follow and receipts along with farmers ID should be presented.

  2. Start the change the judicial system so desperately needs my Esteemed Colleague.

    There will be opinions but once you stay within the sentencing guidelines of the country and you have considered the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, you will continue to have my support.

    Justice must not only be done; but must be seen to be done!!

  3. $10, you send a man to jail for. Yeah, I do understand what farmers are going through. But this is taxpayers money being used to feed this chap for his time in incarceration. Why don’t you said, you go to the farm with him or her and work to repay what you did or clean the police station yard for three weeks. Come on, they say sense is common but few of us possesses it. I am one who personally thinks you go over the top with your sentencing. You send a guy to jail for two head of garlic. Two head of garlic. Get out of here! Why you didn’t jailed that brother and sister that stole the wig from I think Massey Store. You see how justice have two faces in this country.

    1. Was it a sentence he gave of his own accord or did the Sentencing Guidelines allow such a sentence?

      He is not the law maker. He is the enforcer of the law.

      Do or you dont and you want to blame the Senior Magistrate for doing his job?

  4. Three months jail for $10 worth of Dasheen. The thief’s last conviction in 2002. This is not fair. Is this man going to be better when he gets out of jail. This cost the state the time of the court. The salary of the judge. The salary of the pro Deo layers. The cost to keep the man in prison for three months. A little to much draconian for me. #power-drunk-judge

  5. 3 month for $10 damn if he stole that from me, i am telling the judge, i take that 3 month is labor for payment

    1. Providing free service to the farmer from whom he stole sounds like an appropriate punishment; and imposition of a custodial sentence to follow if he failed to do so. Perhaps this could be considered for future cases. Put them to work the lands. This would give them the opportunity to learn to grow their own food and hope they put it to good use.

  6. Anyone remembers the story of the child who stole and the mother did nothing? If memory serves me right, at the hanging of the child, he bit off his mother’s ears, stating that she never corrected him as a child.

    My point is this: $10 or $1,000,000.00, the law books are clear on what the crime was here and so are the sentencing guidelines.

    Next week, some other case will be in the paper with what some may deem a more “bigger crime” and there will be no cries. It may start at $10 now but I am sure, this sentence would cause at least the defendant to reconsider future actions. In my books, one less prevented crime is a good step for the future.

  7. Some of you who’s saying the judge wicked, if he enter into your farm and attempt to dig them dasheen or stole the from your home and you catch him you more likely to kill him if you have a gun.
    The two young man who walk out of jail last week for stealing thousands of dollars worth of stuff should of been his cell mate as well. Zero tolerance for any form of crime.# fullupthejail#

  8. Good decision from the judge too much of this behavior is going on in svg and the thiefs are getting away with it, too many hard working people are getting rip off big time from these low life crabs who just sit back and wait for the farmers to turn their backs, its about time the law start punishing them. Good job judge.

  9. The debate here in not whether the thief should be punished. Everyone agrees on that.

    The issue is what that punishment should look like. A thief should be punished for teefing. But the greater the injury suffered by the victim, the greater the punishment should be.

    The injury here is two fold: (1) the loss of peace of mind generated by the theft itself. And (2) the value of the goods stolen ($10).

    Solution: A six month sentence of having to work the land of the farmer would be in order because that work is valued much higher than $10, And the state would not have to use taxpayers money to feed and shelter the thief for three months.

    Now if our laws do not give our magistrates this kind of freedom to punish law breakers for petty crimes, then we need to to give them that capability.

    Leave our prison space for the gunmen, the cutlassmen, the rapists, in short, the violent criminals.

  10. Prisen is a place for rehabilitation. What do you think is the best form of rehabilitation in this case? locking him up with violent criminals for thee months where he can learn how to be one or working on the farm where he can learn the value of hard work. He just may appreciate a hard days work and become a farmer or he may fall in love with the live of a violent criminal in hail.

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