A man who told the court he uses cocaine has asked to be sent to prison for two years for the theft of a cellular phone.
Javed Clarke, 38, made the request of Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
And while, based on the sentencing guidelines, Clarke’s crime was at the lowest end of the scale and might not have ordinarily attracted a prison term, Burnett sent him to jail for three months after concluding that the other sentencing options could not be appropriate to the crime.
“Thank you, your honour,” Clarke said after exiting the courtroom.
Clarke pleaded guilty — twice — to a charge that on April 7, at Kingstown, he stole one multi-coloured Bylind cellular phone, valued at EC$400, one 16GB memory card, valued at EC$50, and one FLOW SIM card, valued at EC$15, total value EC$465, the property of Franick Glasgow of Park Hill.
Clarke, 38, originally of New Grounds, appeared in court bareback, wearing long black trousers, fastened with a brown belt.
He told the court that while he still lives in the rural village he could not tell when last he went there.
The defendant said that, in Kingstown, he spends most of his time at the vegetable market but lives in Paul’s Avenue where he sometimes “smoke me li’l cocaine”.
“You have been living in town for a while because all of your convictions are at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court. So you are, basically, a town man,” Burnett observed on seeing the man’s criminal record.
“Yes, sir,” Clarke replied.
“He seems to enjoy the life he is living,” the senior magistrate later said.
“That’s the worst thing you said, your honour,” Clarke retorted.
The facts of the case are that about noon on the date in question, Glasgow was sitting on a chair with his phone opposite the KFC building in Kingstown.
While there, Glasgow’s friend, Xavier Browne came by and asked the complainant to bring a block for him to sit on.
Glasgow got out of the chair, leaving the phone behind and walked about five feet to get a block and Clarke picked up the phone and ran away.
The matter was reported to the police and Detective Constable 124 Samuel Caesar arrested Clarke near the Kingstown Vegetable Market about 4:15 p.m. on April 18.
Clarke was interviewed but gave no statement and was subsequently charged.
“Based on your record, you are a thief man… You have been to prison – your five most recent convictions, you were sent to prison,” Burnett said during the sentencing phase of the hearing.
“So you live on the street and that’s what you do,” the magistrate said.
He added that persons might say that Clarke goes to prison, is released and commits the same types of crimes repeatedly.
At this point, Clarke told the court that he would rather stay in prison and asked to be sent to jail for two years, adding that he wants to live in prison.
“Me nah ha’ nobody out here. I live on the street,” Clarke said.
The prosecutor, Police Constable Corlene Samuel told that the court had previously imposed suspended sentences and bonds on Clarke.
She said it was not the first time that he was coming to court saying he wants to go to prison.
Clarke went on to tell the court that he had asked someone to pay him EC$20 for the phone but they said he is a “coke man” and paid him $5 instead and then called the police on him.
He, however, went on to deny stealing the phone, saying that he met it on a bench.
“If I thief it, where I thief it from? Somebody bedroom?” he asked rhetorically.
“Better yo’ send me jail and done with the long talk,” Clarke went on to say.
After sitting silently for a few moments, as if in thought, the senior magistrate again put the charge to Clarke, who, again, pleaded guilty.
Burnett then said that the aggravating feature of the case was that Clarke has several previous convictions for theft, and that the phone was not recovered.
The only mitigating feature, he said, was that the man had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He further said that Clarke is unable to pay a fine and the court is not minded to impose a bond or a suspended sentence.
The prosecutor observed that based on the sentencing guidelines, Clarke’s crime is in the lowest bracket.
Samuel, however, added that another aggravating feature was that he did not give the police any information regarding what he had done with the phone.
What else can I sentence this defendant to?” the senior magistrate said, adding that he is still at a loss with the sentencing guidelines.
“Well, I am going to depart from it in this case,” the magistrate said and sentenced Clarke to three months in prison.