Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett, on Monday, questioned about the reason for his anger, a 19-year-old man who had damaged some of the contents of the holding cell at the Serious Offences Court.
Raheem DaSilva, a labourer of Lodge Village, was at the time being sentenced in relation to a charge that on Oct. 5, at Pauls Avenue, without lawful excuse, he damaged one concrete block bench, value EC$350 and one piece of corrugated steel, value EC$250, by smashing them with an unknown object.
The items, the property of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, were in the holding cell at the Serious Offences Court.
“A 19-year-old boy like you — I’m calling you a boy because that’s how you look to me. Why are you so angry?” Burnett said.
“You almost mash up the court. What’s your problem?” the magistrate asked DaSilva, who then complained that the police had beaten him.
The youth was arraigned on April 23 on a charge that on April 19, at 9:45 p.m., being armed with a gun, he struck Phillip Alexander, a 56-year-old businessman of Frenches in the abdomen with the gun and robbed him of EC $2,000 in cash.
Raheem DaSilva appeared before the Serious Offences Court and was granted EC$6,000 bail with one surety.
He committed the property offence during a court appearance in connection with the robbery charge.
On Monday, he told the senior magistrate that no one has visited since he has been in prison.
“Why is your mother not coming to visit you? What does that say?,” the magistrate asked the youth, who also told the court that he never had a relationship with his father.
In response to the magistrate’s question about his anger, DaSilva told the court that the police had arrested him and confiscated his EC$350.
“He is just 19 years and he appears to be angry with the world,” the magistrate commented.
The defendant said that his behaviour in the holding cell was because he wanted his money back from the police.
The magistrate, however, observed that the money is the subject of court proceedings and that the police cannot just return it.
He told the youth that he must allow the court to determine the outcome of those proceedings, adding that the defendant cannot just go and mash up the chair and cause what the prosecution said was EC$600 in damage.
“All I see in front me is an angry 19-year-old,” the magistrate said, adding, “I don’t know. I live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and I read the papers as well.”
Addressing senior prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche who was at the bar table, Burnett said:
“I don’t know what transpired. I understand he is polite in court.”
Delplesche, who prosecutes at the Senior Offences Court, which hears robbery and similar matters, told the magistrate that he cannot recall ever seeing DaSilva being disrespectful to anyone or while in court.
He further observed that DaSilva’s display took place in the holding cell.
The magistrate noted that the High Court had declined to vary DaSilva’s bail conditions.
“Well, you damaged the property of the government in the court building. You have to pay for it. While taxes will be used to repair that, you have to pay some tax by compensation. Even if you are angry with the system or someone, mashing up [things] is not acceptable,” he said.
Burnett, however, said he was not going to order compensation in the stated sum of EC$600, adding that he thinks that the value determined is sometimes on the high side.
He ordered the youth to pay EC$350 in compensation by Dec. 31 or spend one month in jail.