Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche is suggesting that the senior ranks of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force read the Criminal Code.
He made the suggestion in court, on Monday, after a man was charged and pleaded guilty to stealing an item and also to dishonestly receiving the same item.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne was the first to raise a question, asking if it was the same item that the man stole and dishonestly received.
After the facts were presented to the court, Delplesche said he went to his “book”, and the schedule of the Criminal Code says that if a person is charged with theft, the alternative conviction is handling stolen goods.
“It is here. My friend may not know. So you don’t charge with theft and handling. So here you have a man pleading guilty to theft and for handling of the same item. How that look?”
The prosecutor told the court that the arresting officer had said he had acted on instructions.
“They have a song say ‘How that go look?’” Delplesche said, referring to a popular soca song from Trinidad about two decades ago.
He advised the court that he was withdrawing the handling charge.
Before sitting down, Delplesche turned to Inspector Nero, who was in court on an unrelated matter, and said, “Nero — oh you ain’t reach parliament yet.”
Nero laughed and mentioned counsel Israel Bruce, an opposition senator who was at the bar table.
“No. Nah da’ one they,” Delplesche said. “The one upstairs every Friday,” he added, referring to the weekly meeting of the officers’ corps of the police force.
“Read the book, you hear me? Read the book,” Delplesche, a former inspector of police, told Nero.
In the case, Jimmy Williams, 41 of Ocar, Bequia pleaded guilty to charges that on Aug. 26, in his village, knowing or believing one blue Bosch electrical sander to be a stolen good, dishonestly received same for his own benefit
He also pleaded guilty to a charge that on Aug. 26, also at Ocar, Bequia, he stole one blue Bosch electrical sander, value EC$650, the property of Brent Davis, of Mt. Pleasant, Bequia.
The court heard that Davis was working on a boat at Ocar, Bequia on Aug. 26 when he took a short break about 10:30 a.m.
When he returned the sander was missing.
Police investigated and Williams was taken into custody.
On Sept. 5, he volunteered a statement and took the police to some bushes in Ocar, from which he retrieved the tool.
The man told the court that he was not a thief but had decided to make a joke on Davis.
“A joke is what got me here,” Williams said.
The chief magistrate responded: “That’s a crazy joke.”
She said that after the man was asking for the tool he should have told him that he was joking and end the joke there.
Williams, however, said he got scared after the officers were summoned.
The prosecution made no representation on sentencing.
Williams did not have any previous conviction and the sander was in good working order.
The court ordered restitution and reprimanded and discharged Williams, directing him not to make those types of jokes again.
“It may not necessarily come down like that. I am giving you a chance,” the chief magistrate said.