Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett says that some sections of the Vincentian society are excusing acts of theft, focusing on the value of the item stolen rather than the crime itself.
He made the point while sentencing at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court last week, Shettima Crosby, a man who has a long conviction record for theft, mainly of hard liquor.
Crosby, 40, of Redemption Sharpes, appeared in court on a charge that, on Nov. 23, 2018, he stole from Massy supermarket, one bottle of Sunset Strong Rum, valued at EC$38.87, and one Crest cheese, valued at EC$7.74.
The man faced a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
The sentencing came even as Crosby is serving a prison sentence for stealing a bottle of rum, a crime he committed after the 2018 offence.
“People are making a case for thieves. That appears not to be wrong anymore,” Burnett, said, referring to the public response when the court sentences persons for theft.
“What does the court do with a man with a mind like that? Because it is a mind thing,” he said, after reading Crosby’s long conviction record, dating back over 15 years.
“I have to show some respect, but based on the guidelines, he is to get a discount,” he said, referring to the discount of up to one-third of a sentence that the court considers for defendants who plead guilty at the first opportunity.
The prosecutor, Police Sergeant Renwick Cato, told the court that Crosby was serving a sentence for stealing a bottle of rum.
Crosby said that he was serving a six-month jail term handed down at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court but that he could not remember which magistrate had imposed the sentence.
“Well, is this same magistrate here,” Burnett said.
He noted that the offence for which Crosby was being sentenced last week was committed in 2018, but added, “But you have not changed much”.
“I have to bear in mind the date of the offence and the fact that you got a conviction after,” he said.
Burnett sentenced Crosby to three months in prison, to run consecutive to his current prison term.
An addiction evaluation might be necessary in this case. If he goes to prison one hundred times for stealing alcohol, the prison sentence would not change or rehabilitate him.
Am I hearing a cry for an effective department of social services?
The magistrate’s hands may-be tied with the limited legal remedies and options available to him. However, this points to a wider social problem in our society.
Imprisonment would not and can not treat or rehabilitate someone who has an addiction!
The former registrar stole monies entrusted to her, went off to Dubai and had a ball of a time and got off with a handshake. The elections in SVG are habitually stolen since 2005 and it is aided and abetted by the court system it seems. Cant blame the public for thinking that way magistrate Burnette
Mr Burnett you make excuse for the government.
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