A 20-year-old Cane End man was, on Monday, led away from the court in handcuffs after he was unable to come up with EC$1,900 in fines for driving without a licence and driving an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle.
Ronnel Nanton was also barred from holding or obtaining a driver’s permit for the next nine months.
He pleaded guilty to charges that last Saturday, Sept. 14, at Cane End, he drove P5760 without being the holder of a driving permit.
He further pleaded guilty to charges that he drove the vehicle without the relevant license for the period May 1 to Oct. 31, 2019 and that he drove the vehicle without there being in force a policy of insurance in respect of third party risk in respect of the user of the said vehicle.
About 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Police Constable 759 James of the Mesopotamia Police Station was on duty about the Cane End area when he saw a white and green Toyota Starlet car being driven with no front registration plate.
James, who was in uniform, signalled the driver to stop and the driver complied.
He questioned the driver about the registration plate, and the driver replied, “I’m just going to take the car to the garage.”
James asked the driver for his driving permit and he said he did not have any.
He further told the police officer the car was neither licenced nor insured because he was just fixing it up.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, hearing the second such case that day, remarked:
“What a day it would be if everyone thinks they can just drive without a permit; vehicle without insurance.”
She said the sanctions imposed by law are stiff for a reason.
In his submission on sentencing, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche said that such offences seem to be becoming prevalent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and, as always, the court has to deal with it.
He said, however, that Nanton is a first-time offender and, as such, he would not recommend a prison sentence.
Delplesche, however, said that that Nanton should be made to feel the penalty in his pocket.
“You can’t be driving like that,” the senior prosecutor said.
In handing down her sentence, the senior magistrate said that the offences are serious.
She said that there would be no recourse if Nanton had caused injury to others or himself.
For driving without a permit, Browne ordered Nanton to pay the court EC$600 forthwith or spend six weeks in jail.
He was ordered to pay EC$400 forthwith or spend four weeks in jail for driving an unlicensed vehicle.
And for driving an uninsured vehicle, the fine was EC$900 forthwith or nine weeks in jail.
THE UNREPRESENTED – REMIT OF MAGISTRATES
The imposition of penalties has always been the ‘…Remit of Magistrates.’
They would have received the facts of the case when a guilty plea was entered, or heard the evidence when full trial was conducted.
Magistrates determine innocence or guilt. They decide on the ‘…nature and gravity of offences’ and ‘…severity or leniency of penalties.’
Not sure why this prosecutor believes that he is empowered to dictate to trial Magistrates what penalties to impose upon ‘…Unrepresented Defendants.’
It may have bordered ‘…Travesty of Justice’ for the prosecutor to suggest to the Magistrate to make the defendant Nanton ‘…feel it in his pocket.’
It shall always be left to the trial Magistrate to decide on what penalty is most appropriate to be imposed upon the ‘…Unrepresented.’
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