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.
Thank God for mercy. I had a similar experience, only that I was not arrested. In a minute of making what you think is a silly joke, the momentum can change and you can do absolutely nothing. God bless you Magistrate for your bowels of compassion.
SEPARATE COMPLAINTS – NOTHING WRONG
Seemed that the former Inspector/Prosecutor had forgotten the investigative principle on the ‘…alternative charge principle; and the ‘…Doctrine of recent possession,’ where the property was found in the recent possession of a person.
In a case of stealing (Larceny-Antigua and Barbuda), where a person was accused of stealing and was not caught (flagrante delicto), -red-handed in the act, with prima facie evidence, there is a reasonable presumption that he was either the;
(a) …Thief; or
(b) …Receiver (Handling Stolen Property-SVG).’
He is slapped with these two charges separately.
Now, if the two charges appeared on one Complaint, then the Magistrate would have been judicially bound to dismiss the ‘…single Complaint with two charges,’ citing that it was ‘…Bad for Duplicity.’
The investigating officer was not dealing with ‘…alternative conviction.’
That has always been the function of trial Magistrates.
Clear that someone may have misread the ‘…Book on Charging,’ but certainly not Chief Magistrate Browne, Inspector Nero or the officers’ corps.
In a full trial, he could only be found guilty on one charge.
In the instant case, the accused was not tried. He told the Court that he was the thief and, thus pleaded guilty.
The only need to look at the alternative charge of ‘…Handling Stolen Property,’ was for the purposes of offering no evidence and to have it withdrawn.
No favor was done to the accused. He could not have been tried and/or found guilty of this offence or punished for it. Never sure how an accused person may plea.
I think the Prosecutor should have reviewed the casefile before presenting it to court instead of blaming others. At the end of the day he will look incompetent as well. He should submit a report to the Commissioner, DCP or ACPs about the matter before it gets to that stage not after.
FULLY AGREED – SHAWN.B
Prosecutor appeared to have exposed himself, and should offer an apology to the Police Service of which he was a member.
No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill though.
Had the privilege of meeting ‘…Deputy Commissioner Frankie Joseph,’ here in Antigua and Barbuda.
He represented the Police Service at the ‘…RSS Security Chiefs Conference’ [September 13, 2015].
Showed that his Commissioner Collin John had reposed confidence in him.
The charges are totally erroneous on the officer who recommended and approved them. They really need to read . How can you be so blind as a police.
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