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Police officer keeps a tight hand on the teen burglar as he leaves the Kingstown Magistrate's Court on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023
Police officer keeps a tight hand on the teen burglar as he leaves the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023
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The teen burglar who the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court last Friday tried to avoid sending to prison was brought back before the same court today (Thursday), for apparently disobeying the order of the court.

The court is expected to hear on Friday from Director of Marion House, Jeanie Ollivierre, about why the teen was back on the streets of Kingstown, even after she said that the non-profit, professional counselling centre had adequate security to keep him there while addressing his issues, including cocaine addiction.

Last Friday, after a sentencing hearing over two days, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett ordered that the teen enrol in the youth assistance programme at Marion House for a year or go to prison for 12 months.

However, by Friday night, the teen, who has a cocaine habit, was back on the streets of Kingstown, and avoided attempts by police to apprehend him until Thursday, when he was nabbed and brought back before the court.

The teen was found guilty of a charge that on Dec. 26, 2022 — Boxing Day — at Grenville Street, Kingstown, he damaged the glass store window of Platinum Divas Store.

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Further, the teen, along with Kamal “Condom” Small, 31, of Penniston, and Jomo Ronaldo Lyttle aka “Thug” and “Jacob”, 42, of Redemption Sharpes, was convicted of a charge that on the same date, they entered the Platinum Divas Store as trespassers and stole 300 stainless steel Skemei wrist watches, valued at EC$67,500, one blow hair dryer, valued at EC$150 and a quantity of female accessories, valued at EC$500, total value, EC$68,150, the property of Mohammad Afaneh, of Cane Garden.

Small was sentenced to four years in prison and Lyttle to two years and eight months.

The trio each told the court that they abuse cocaine.

On Thursday, when iWitness News walked into the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, the teen, who was sitting, bare feet, in the area reserved for prisoners, smiled and said in a muted voice, “Dem ketch me, boy. Dem ketch me”.

Later, the teen, appearing to speak to himself, said, “I really want some sleep. Days now me nah sleep.”

He repeatedly kissed his teeth as he sat on the prisoners’ bench waiting for his matter to be called and kissed his teeth again when he was called up.

The prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police Corlene Samuel, told the court that in keeping with the sentence handed down on Friday, the teen was to be at Marion House.

“…  we received information over the weekend, as of Friday, he was back into Kingstown, in Paul’s Lot, begging,” Samuel said, adding that the teen had run from the police.

She said that when the prosecution contacted Ollivierre, she said that she went to take something for the teen to eat and he was not at Marion House.

“The police have seen him in Kingstown, the public have seen him,” Samuel said.

At this point, the senior magistrate said he, too, had seen the teen in the capital after his sentence was handed down.

Samuel noted that the alternative for the teen not abiding by the order of the court is a term imprisonment.

She said that Police Constable Ragguette, who is assigned to the court, “sprained her finger trying to get him over the weekend”.

She said a prosecutor saw the teen in the city Saturday night and he took off running.

“I have had several reports, several pictures, videos of [this teen] in Paul’s Lot begging…”

She said an officer saw the teen on Wednesday and asked him why he was in Kingstown.

“‘Leh me get coke up and come’,” Samuel said the teen responded. “And that is the issue with [him],” the prosecutor said. “I understand the court ordered him to go to Marion House. But I believe Marion House would have an issue keeping [him] in one place. He has an issue with drugs.”

Samuel suggested to the court that the teen be held in custody for some time so that he does not have access to drugs.

“…  if he is given permission to come into town, he will find himself back where the issue is. If he has a period where he can dry out and Marion House is dealing with him from there, we can take steps.”

She suggested that the court could make an order that he be isolated from the general prison population, adding that the state does not have an appropriate venue to house the teen. 

“We have younger persons than him in the court system.”

In his comments, the magistrate said he had taken a lot of time in sentencing the teen.

One of the reasons was because of his age.

“He is 16 years old. I drew attention to the practice direction given by the chief justice with regard to the sentencing principles concerning persons below the age of 18,” Burnett said.

He said he also addressed his mind to all the facts before the court in sentencing a defendant like the teen.

“My understanding of the direction of the chief justice is that prison should be the last, last resort for persons like the defendant.”

Burnett said that before sentencing the teen, he went into detail, reading some of the factors that the court had considered in sentencing him differently from the other defendants.

“I summoned Ms Ollivierre to the court and she gave the court the assurance that she can properly house the defendant at Marion House. She told the court she has security in the day and in the night and she convinced this court that she was able to properly house [the teen] at Marion House.”

Burnett said the order was made, based on Ollivierre’s representation to the court.

“Now, I understand the society and environment in which we live. I understood then the order that I was making for the defendant and that was the reason that I said that in the default, that the defendant has to go to prison for 12 months. I did that in the event that he decides not to comply with the order of the court then he goes to prison.

“So, if [he] is to go to prison, he is the one who decided that he will go to prison. Nobody can say we did not try. We tried. So, what I am going to do, he has to remain in custody.”

The senior magistrate said Ollivierre will appear before the court on Friday to explain why the teen was on the street.

The teen said that Ollivierre had given him permission to leave Marion House.

Burnett said the teen told him the same thing when he saw him on the street in Kingstown.

When told that he has to remain in custody until Friday, the teen said, “Prison?”

The magistrate told him that he would remain in custody.

After returning to his seat, the teen muttered, “They go have to watch me good. None ah you fast than me.”

During the sentencing hearing last week, the teen begged not to be sent to prison, saying that his father and brother, both of whom are inmates serving lengthy sentences, would beat him up if he is sent to either of the nation’s prisons.

He further told the court that his mother is dead.

4 replies on “Teen burglar edges even closer to prison even as court tries to keep him out”

  1. It’s sad that we don’t have a facility where individuals with substance abuse can be detoxed, supported, and rehabilitated. In other jurisdictions, I have seen youths and others managed through specialized programs (drug- courts, residential services, and services with secured facilities). It is so sad that prison appeared to be the solution in this case.

  2. Let us try sometime new. Is it possible to place teen offenders in a separate section in the female prison? It is more likely to have space since there are less females in the system? Females also have a lower rate of recidivism and have higher rates of rehabilitation than males. Better influence!!He is way too young to be housed with the males when we are already aware of the abuse that will be metered out to him the day he set foot at tge male penitentiary.

    The only argument against this is the gender norm segration. He is still a child , and every mother cares let her little boy uses the female lavatory until she is assured he can protect himself in the male bathroom , and even then she stands guard outside, protection the little charge!

  3. Prison gives enough time to break the habit. It’s up to the individual to stay away from street drugs and try to be productive after being set free. From my knowledge cocaine addiction is easy to quit than cigarettes addiction.

  4. Where these boys geting these things to buy? How they know and finding the sellers and the police can’t find the sellers ? Very frightening.

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