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Ozem Oliver, right, speaks with an unidentified man outside the Serious Offences Court as he awaits transportation to prison on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.
Ozem Oliver, right, speaks with an unidentified man outside the Serious Offences Court as he awaits transportation to prison on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

A 19-year-old student to whom a High Court judge last October gave the “key” to a prison cell, telling him that for three years, he can decide if to lock himself inside or out of it, decided last week Thursday to spend the time behind bars. 

Ozem Oliver, of Glen, made the decision by having in his possession, at Glen, a firearm and six rounds of ammunition without a licence.  

In making that decision, the Community College student forced the Serious Offences Court to  automatically activate the three-year prison term that Justice Brian Cottle had suspended for three years on the condition that he commits no crime punishable by more than six months in prison.

And, on Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne jailed Oliver for an additional three years and seven months, taking to six years and seven months the entire sentence he would have to serve.

In handing down her sentence, the chief magistrate quoted what Justice Cottle had told Oliver and his two robbery co-defendants — Andreas Bruce, 21, and D’Andre Peters, 20 —  when he gave them a chance on Oct. 25, 2021, to make something of their lives.

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“Gentlemen, you have the keys to the prison in your hands. If you behave yourself for the next three years, that will be the end of that,” the judge had said.

Justice Cottle told the men that should any of them breach the terms of the suspension of the jail sentences, he would go to prison immediately for the robbery, in addition to whatever sentence is handed down for the additional crime. 

The men were sentenced , having pleaded guilty to a charge that on Aug. 10, 2018, at Glen, being armed with a gun, they robbed Denise Baptiste, of Glen, of one gold J7 Prime Samsung Galaxy cellular phone, value at EC$1,100, and at the time of so doing, put Baptiste in fear of being then and there subjected to force.

The trio, who were all students and teenagers at the time of their crime, further pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm. 

Meanwhile, at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Browne asked Oliver if he remembered and understood the judge’s admonition and he responded in the affirmative to both questions. 

She asked him if he was sure, and Oliver, again, said yes.

The chief magistrate then read the judge’s comments to him again.

“I wanted to start the sentence with that so that you have a clear picture and I reinforce the fact that you were under no illusion as to the terms of your sentence,” Browne said.

She said  she knows that the judge, in arriving at his sentence, had paid significant attention to the age of the accused men.

“This is Jan. 19, 2022. You are here for possession of three rounds of 9mm,  three rounds of .38 ammunition and and a firearm, make and serial number unknown,” she said, referring to the charges to which Oliver had pleaded guilty.

On Tuesday, Oliver entered a guilty plea at the Serious Offences Court, one day after he pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.

His sentencing was adjourned to Wednesday so as to allow the court to verify his criminal record.

Police discovered the firearm arm and ammunition as they conducted a search at Oliver’s house in connection to his alleged taking of a conveyance. 

He is to be tried on charges that between Jan. 9-10, at Gomea, he  took motor bike PH-91 without the consent of the owner or any lawful authority at Gomea, the property of Kenmore Horne of Gomea. 

He is also awaiting trial on a charge that on Jan. 1 and 13, 2022, at Glen, knowing or believing one black Razor 150cc scooter, registration number PH-91 to be stolen goods, dishonestly received same for own benefit. 

Ozem Oliver Andreas Bruce and DAndre Peters
From left, Ozem Oliver, Andreas Bruce, and D’Andre Peters outside the High Court in Kingstown, Oct. 25, 2021 after their sentencing. (iWN photos)

No ‘Nancy story’ 

In his representation on sentencing, the prosecutor, Sergeant Renrick Cato,  noted Oliver’s age, but pointed out that last October, he pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

The prosecutor said that in addition to seeing the conviction sheet, he had read an article on social media that reported on “that lecture that was given to the defendant. 

“He was given a sentence of three years  suspended for three years and Justice Cottle told him I am giving you the key for you to send yourself to prison if you choose to. He was to walk the straight and narrow for three years.”

The prosecutor, however said that based on what Oliver had told the court on Tuesday, he had the firearm when the judge was speaking to him last October, 

“The defendant admitted to the court yesterday that he had the gun for a couple years. So while in the dock he had knowledge that he had the gun in his possession. 

“He knew at that point in time, after that long nice lecture by Justice Cottle that he had this weapon in his possession,” Cato siad.

He said that even after the judge’s “lecture”, Oliver decided to keep the firearm.

The prosecutor noted that Oliver was in custody for taking of conveyance and it was when investigators executed a search warrant at his house in respect of this that they found the firearm, fully loaded, and ammunition in two other places in the house.

“The defendant, in my opinion, has no level of respect for the sentence handed down by Justice Cottle,” the prosecutor said, and reiterated that he believed that the judge had sentenced Oliver as he did, because of his age.

He said that firearm offences are so common that every week, there is at least one case of a firearm offence before the Serious Offences Court.

He told the court that it has a duty to put a stop to this, and asked the court to send a strong message to firearm offenders.

After the prosecutor’s comments, Oliver, who was unrepresented and mitigated on his behalf on Tuesday, told the court that he was not going about “doing any wrongdoings. I stayed focused and was in college”.

The chief magistrate told Oliver that as she had told him the previous day, he should not come with that “Nancy story” as he had other charges pending before the court.

She said that what is being counted are the matters since the suspended sentence was handed down last October.

“Based on the type of sentence, that is why he is saying you have no regard for the court,” the chief magistrate told the defendant, referring to the prosecutor’s comments. 

The chief magistrate gave the defendant a step-by step-explanation of how she had arrived at the sentence of three years and seven months for possession of the firearm.

She imposed a sentence of eight months for possession of the ammunition, to run concurrently as that for the firearm. 

“I would like to go back to my opening sentences where I quoted Justice Cottle. ‘Should you commit yourself hereafter, you will go to prison immediately…’” the chief magistrate said, adding, “As a result the suspended sentence is activated.”

She explained to Oliver that he would serve the three-year sentence for robbery and then three years and seven months for firearm and ammunition possession, and informed him of his right to appeal.

“I pray  that … when you are behind bars, you will use that as a period of reflection and see how you can rehabilitate yourself so that when you come out, God willing, should you make it out, you will be a different person.”

20 replies on “Teen uses ‘key’ judge gave him; locks himself in prison”

  1. So when you fools put these young boys to jail for an imitation fire arms what going to become of them later on in life. You judges and lawyers in saint Vincent are really dumbbells and jackasses. How foolish you all are. Cottle already gave him a deal why go back on it and made him put himself in jail. Foolish people.

    1. Monica,

      You should really try to read and understand before you comment. This is genuine advice and is not meant to be insulting in any way.

  2. So wait wait, Monica if that’s your right name,the judges are fools for sending this guy to jail,for firearm offenses are you serious, I am glad he is getting a chance to reflect on his errant ways, cause trust me he woulda go rob the wrong person and we wouldn’t be having this conversation, the young man was given a huge chance by Justice Cottle and he failed to capitalize on it he put he damn self there….hope he learn finally.

  3. Well monica i different you calling the lawyers and judges out their there name but the dumbell n jackass around here is you… the article clearly states they trio were given suspended sentences for robbery and an imitation firearm…if any of them breaks the bond then tje sentence would be imposed..not even 3 months later mr got held with an illegal firearm and 6 bullets oh shit man as a law abiding citizen i dont want no gun man out here to terrorise me n fellow vincentians…lock he up…if you not satisfied go in go keep his company

  4. Monica you are the only fool here also the dumbbell and jackass.Go and research the LAW the judge still went easy on him.This young s–t head was given a sweet deal and blew it.If you were the recipient of the BS he was dishing out you would of been dancing to a different beat.You must be a relative or as dunce as he is.

  5. I don’t blame him for having a fire arm
    Count the amount of youthful deaths in Glen alone as a result of gun violence we all have a need for protection .
    However I never said his actions were right
    But why give him all this As a youth
    And murderers trodding the streets happy
    Who killed the youth in belair… look for him and stop deprive the youths dem.

  6. Winston Browne says:

    why are my comments not being posted…
    So Monica this young man was given a chance to get his act together he chose not to and the judges are the dumbbells and jackasses in this situation, you need to have your head checked….seriously…..

  7. Monica, I like you comment. I was that magistrate and I could have handed him or them more I would imposed a stiffer sentence on Glen. Those are the same people who are part of the serious gun violence that is taking place in this country. They are out there committing criminal acts, so to, they must suffer the consequences of doing so.

  8. Something is wrong here. Monica, I like your comment and you are entitle to your opinion on the matter. However, if I was that magistrate and I could have handed him or them sifter sentences I would have done so. They are sensible individuals and know what choices to make. They know the outcomes from making their choices. Now, let them face the music because they have started the party. St. Vincent and the Grenadines like other countries in the world is being overrun by gun violence. The line need to be drawn somewhere and well drawn too. The sentences handed down need to be complemented with hard labour.
    In Jamaica to send a serious message to those who participate in gun violence, it is proposed that it should be life imprisonment. That’s how serious it is. As to those same boys – they are part of the gun violence in Glen and they need to be locked away. It will serve to extend their lives and the lives of others. A lot of people will be sympathetic to them, that’s fine. However, wait until they become victim of that same violence or hear the gunshots and realized the victim is their own people, their friends or people that they know. Then their sympathies with evaporate like the early morning vapor against the sun.
    Let me asked before I leave, how many of you were on your bed and heard gunshots at nights and in the morning is someone that you know was shot? Romance with the feelings and tell how it feel. Gun violence need to be dealt with seriously.


  9. Having a gun with ammunition is having power in your hands, power not to take any BS! from anyone whom you believe may have wrong you. Power to rob and kill, so what do you think these youths are going to do. Dont forget these young men also have kidnapping on their records.

  10. Monica, please I beg you: STOP TYPE FOR 2022. Your comments continuously show that you either lack the ability to comprehend or you’re plain ignorance.

    As I said before: READ MORE; TYPE LESS!

  11. Monica..u sound as dumb as these boy..did u read the two time he gotten into trouble was wit guns??
    Great job judges

  12. Jeanie Ollivierre says:

    My only hope is that while these youths are incarcerated they not only think about the idiotic things which they have done, but that some serious, ongoing counselling sessions will be provided so that somehow they can find peace.

  13. Monica you really need your cranium to be examined if you have one. You are sureky showing early symptoms pf dementia and mental retardation and fuctìonal illiteracy.

  14. This kid like many others of African descent have some serious issues. He has a trail of criminal history for various crimes. I am of the opinion that this particular young needs professional help. Unfortunately while in prison he will get little or no help at all.

    Prison were meant for rehabilitation and correctional services not just for incarceration.

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