A Barrouallie man who pleaded guilty to damaging another man’s phone told the court that the complainant owes him money for “drugs”.
Anthonio Mason made the claim, on Tuesday, at the Serious Offences Court, in Kingstown.
He pleaded guilty to a charge that on March 2, 2022, at Kingstown, without lawful excuse, he damaged one black iSWAG cellular phone, valued at EC$400, the property of Lenroy Edwards, of Chateaubelair, and was reckless as to whether such property would be damaged.
The facts of the case, as read by acting Corporal of Police 754 Harry, are that both men know each other well.
On March 4, about 3:40 p.m., Edwards was standing at the Leeward Bus Terminal, in Kingstown with his cell phone in his hand.
Mason approached Edwards and said, “I have a mind take away your phone.”
Edwards did not pay him any mind and walked away.
Mason came from behind Edwards and hit him on his right hand, in which he had the cell phone and tried to take the phone from him.
They held onto each other and Mason took away the phone from Edwards and ran with it.
A police officer instructed Mason to give the phone back to Edwards and he complied.
However, Mason then pushed the police officer and ran into the bus terminal.
The officer gave chase but Mason escaped. When Edwards checked the cell phone, he noticed that the screen was damaged.
He reported the matter to the police and PC105 Castello entertained the report, visited the scene and recorded a written statement
He conducted further investigation and obtained CCTV footage, which showed the men scuffling up and the defendant escaping.
Mason was arrested and charged on Aug. 20.
In mitigation, Mason told the court that Edward owes him.
“He gi me stupid talk,” he said, adding that he and Edwards began to wrestle with each other.
“I took away the phone from him and tell him give me my money,” the defendant said, adding that Edwards owes him $2,000 since 2020.
“Every time I check him, he tell me hold on — get me round the bushes,” Mason told the court.
When questioned by chief magistrate Rechanne Browne, who was presiding, Mason said that Edwards had told him “he would give me $2000 because he owe me”.
“For what?” Browne said.
“Drugs,” Mason told the court.
“I was going to recommend you put in a civil case but –. This really goes into the realm of not so legal. Let’s trust it doesn’t come to anything further to get your money. Of course, you have to know your business partners when you are getting into business.”
The magistrate said that unfortunately, because of Mason’s action and approach, Edwards’ phone was damaged.
“So you will have to compensate him… It may seem unfair but that is outside of my realm,” she said.
She ordered Mason to compensate Edwards in the sum of EC$400 by Oct. 7 or spend one month in prison.
“I am going to give you some time to pay it and hope it works out for you… In the future, you have to be careful. I know it could be frustrating but that is the nature of the job you signed up for or are involved in. They are not usually scrupulous,” Browne said.