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The 17-year-old leaves the Kingstown Magistrate's Court on Friday, March 3, 2023.
The 17-year-old leaves the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Friday, March 3, 2023.
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The teen who, last May, went to Mountain View Adventist Academy while suspended from classes and attacked his principal with “brass knuckles” has beaten his stepfather with a metal pipe in an unprovoked attack.

The 17-year-old appeared before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, on Thursday, and pleaded guilty to charges that on March 1, at Richland Park, he assaulted the virtual complainant (VC) occasioning actual bodily harm, and damaged his cellular phone, valued at EC$800.

However, Crown Counsel Rose-Ann Richardson, as well as lawyer Israel Bruce, who the court asked to represent the teen, argued against sending him to jail.

The stepfather also did not want the teen to go to prison.

The facts of the case are that the VC is in a relationship with the teen’s mother for over 10 years and the stepfather would normally visit the house where the teen lives with his mother.

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On Feb. 20, around 12:51 a.m., the VC was at the teen’s mother’s home when the teen approached him with a photo of a black toy gun on the Amazon website and asked his stepfather to buy it for him.

On March 1, about 1:15 a.m., the VC was at the teen’s mother’s home sitting on the porch.

The stepfather got up off the porch to go into the house and as soon as he opened the door, he felt a blow to the right side of his head. The stepfather, on feeling the lash, attempted to get into the house but couldn’t because the defendant was blocking him from doing so.

The stepfather ran out of the yard and up a hill towards the public road. However, he stumbled and fell and the teen, who was running behind him, came over him and started to beat him repeatedly about the body with a piece of metal pipe.

At the time, the stepfather had with him a red and black A71 cellular phone and while the defendant was striking him with the piece of metal, it struck him and the phone, damaging the phone and causing injuries to the VC.

The teen’s mother, who was at home, pulled the teen off his stepfather and asked him why he had hit the VC. The teen told his mother that his stepfather had tried to scam him.

The prosecutor, Corlene Samuel told the court that the metal pipe was not recovered.

Samuel further told the court that the teen has previous convictions for similar offences, noting that he was charged with assaulting the principal of MVAA and was ordered on Oct. 14, 2022 to undergo four months’ counselling.

Then he was convicted in January for taking conveyance.

The magistrate stood the matter down so that the complainant could attend the hearing. When the VC arrived, he was leaning heavily on a stick and limping.

Meanwhile, Bruce told the court that in preparing for the mitigation, he had engaged the teen’s father and mother, as well as his stepfather, in an effort to get a complete picture of the family circumstance.

He said it “is not one of the regular 17-year-olds that is standing in the box”.

Bruce started with the teen’s conviction for attacking his principal.

“That should be the first red flag that there is an issue with this human being,” Bruce said. “When a child decides that he is going to take something and attack the principal of a school, who is the chief authority, it should send the first warning that there is an issue.”

The lawyer said that the teen has abused drugs.

“He smokes marijuana and it appears that on every occasion that he takes a draw on that marijuana stick or those marijuana sticks, they are having serious effects on him,” the lawyer said.

“This is a young man that needs help.”

The lawyer said he was glad that the child’s stepfather was in court.

“In my interaction with him, he was asking one question. About five times he asked me it: ‘How can we help him?’”

Teen attacker 2
Counsel Israel Bruce, who the court asked to represent the teen, chats with him and his other outside Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Friday, March 3, 2023.

Bruce said this says that the stepfather recognises that there is a problem with the teen.

The lawyer noted that the teen’s mother and his biological father were also in court. “And they all recognise that he needs help and intervention,” the lawyer said.

He said one could only speculate when the teen started to smoke marijuana, adding that the teen also has to address his anger issues.

He said that the information provided to him is that the stepfather has an Amazon account open on the teen’s mother’s tablet and the teen actually purchased the toy gun.

“Apparently, the gun arrived in St. Vincent and looked too much like a real gun and so the stepfather and the mother’s position was to try to return it and get a refund.”

There was a later discussion about trading in a cellular phone at a local telecommunications provider.

The teen went with the phone but had to pay EC$40 for a chip, which he did not have.

“He didn’t understand that he had to pay $40. It tells me where his mental faculty is also,” the lawyer told the court, adding that he was underscoring the point that the teen needs help.

Bruce said that the teen’s stepfather told someone he knew at the company to issue the chip and he would pay. The teen was to refund his stepfather.

The mother had EC$100 for the teen and her position was that the stepfather should get the EC$40 from it.

“That triggered him,” Bruce said, adding that it is not that the stepfather had done the teen anything. “He had gone within the ambits of a reasonable stepfather,” the lawyer said.

“In real flesh and blood thinking, when you listen to him, had it not been for his mother, I could not have had a real appreciation as to what happened,” Bruce told the court. “All that happened is convoluted in his mind. It tells me that he needs real help and urgent help.”

The senior magistrate asked whether that help was available in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bruce said yes.

Bruce said he believes the teen needs to spend a lot more time with his biological father.

“The father has given a commitment and an undertaking that he is willing to facilitate that time between father and son as much as he can,” Bruce said, adding that the child’s father also recognised that every time the teen smokes marijuana, he is “a different type of person”.

The senior magistrate said it should not take the court to do that, and Bruce said he agreed, adding that his instructions are that the teen was living with the father before and took it on his own to go to live with his mother.

“But sometimes, things happen in the lives of children and ever so often, we take it for granted,” Bruce said.

He said that without being specific, “ever so often in this country, some of us, in our male macho position, personalise our companions, make them our properties and at times we become physical with them in the presence of others who we don’t know the extent to which it will affect them down the road or the extent to which that which has happened is oscillating the faculties of those persons who have seen what has happened”.

Bruce said he believes that the court understood what he was saying, adding that he needed not be more precise.

He said he was of the view “that that has created some tensions, if not animosity, if not anger stored up”, adding that this is why he suggested that a change of environment would be helpful to the teen.

He said the teen gave an undertaking to his father and mother and the most he can do, as a lawyer, is represent that undertaking that the teen would stop using marijuana.

“As I pointed to him and the others, he is looking at [three] places … cemetery, mental asylum or the prisons… He might end up in one of these institutions or he might go and attack somebody when he smokes and get stupid and somebody might hit you before you hit them — cemetery.”

The lawyer noted that at age 17, the teen is out of school because of his actions there and is not as rational as he should be.

“I close with the question asked by the virtual complainant: ‘What can we do to help him’,” the lawyer said.

The magistrate said that he had gotten the impression that Crown Counsel Rose-Ann Richardson, who was at the Bar table, wanted to engage the court on the matter.

Richardson said it was clear to her as well, having inquired of the teen’s mother, that he has a problem.

The crown counsel said the mother said a doctor had placed the teen on antidepressants but the teen had not been following up with that.

Richardson said that the stepfather did not wish to see the teen go to prison.

She said that it was her view that while the injuries were serious that there still needs to be more intervention on behalf of the teen.

“He is still a young man and it is a circumstance that is rife for rehabilitation,” she said, and suggested that that is where the court should be looking when sentencing the teen.

The magistrate also asked Richardson if SVG had what was needed to help the teen.

Richardson said she did not know that the country had the facilities, adding that she was told that when the teen was sentenced for assaulting his principal, he was sent for counselling at Marion House for four months.

“He did go. Perhaps a longer period can help and even with the intervention with his father, he might be under the microscope, along with community service. But I don’t think this is one in which a term of imprisonment is appropriate,” Richardson said.

She told the court the teen should be given a chance to redeem himself “because as it stands, he will have three convictions and after that — three strikes”.

The crown counsel, however, noted that the teen has to understand that in all of the mitigation, he has to make a decision that he has to walk the straight and narrow and stay away from what has had impact on him.

In handing down the sentence, the magistrate said he would go in the direction that the counsel suggested.

He, however, said:

“Based on my experience in this court, I see things differently. I tell you that 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds are coming to the court [having] committed offences [that are usually] committed by seasoned individuals.”

The magistrate said that in most cases, the common denominator is the absence of a father in the house.

“I notice one is trying to take responsibility now. He may try but this is a 17-year-old. He is going to have a task on his hand with this son of his. But it is his son and he has to try. He has been given chances before. It takes a special mind to attack a principal. It takes a special mind to do that,” Burnett said.

He ordered the teen to undergo one year’s counselling at Marion House with a report to be submitted to the court every three months and at the end of the counselling period, at which time the teen would also have to reappear before the court.

The teen was also bonded for one year in the sum of EC$2,500. If he breaches the bond, he must pay the amount forthwith or spent nine months in prison.

After sentencing the teen, Burnett, addressing him by his surname, said:

“… this is my last word to you … you are going down a particular road and if you don’t stop and turn back, there is a place that is called His Majesty’s Prison, or there is also one called ‘Monkey Hill Cemetery’ — Richland Park Cemetery … Do you want to go to those places?

“You have to make a change in your life because of the road you are going down. Take my advice. I was your age at one time, if you don’t remember anything else, take my advice, change for the better. Go back to evening classes and do a programme that will keep your mind occupied. You will find a job later on in life. But take my advice.”

The magistrate also noted that the court sometimes orders people to go to Marion House for counselling.

“Is it that the government doesn’t have facilities or what it takes?” Burnett asked. He also asked whether the state provides a subvention to the non-government, non-profit, professional counselling centre.

Bruce, who is also an opposition senator, said Marion House survives mainly on grants from international organisations but gets a “minuscule subvention” from the government.

He said he did not know if the Ministry of Social Development recognises Marion House’s programme to the point that they want to see if they are efficient “or just a mill running”.

The lawyer, however, said that recently, people have begun to “ring this alarm bell, the issue of mental health and it is one of the concerns”.

He said that as regards the teen, “the speed at which violence is entertained, it could very well be that mental health is lurking”.

Burnett said it may be the teen’s personality “but looking at him, he appears a little angry to me”.

5 replies on “Teen who attacked principal last year beats stepfather with metal pipe”

  1. I don’t agree with Bruce’s dialog because this is the second time this teen got aggressive. Notice he’s asking for a toy gun – for what? Are all these people crazy! The magistrate should demand the government support Marion House. The funds that went into hiring more police could and should have gone to support the facility.
    I don’t know why Bruce also went after the father who probably didn’t stay with the boys’ mother. That’s life! Many of us grow up with our father away from home for many years, because they had to go looking for work in other islands or countries.
    I believe this is just the beginning. He’s walking free with and that’s bad,

  2. The step father should ask the judge to sent him to prison, to teach him a lesson, that’s the second time he done it, after he release out of prison he can either be better or worst, if is the latter then the next time he will be up for MURDER

  3. This idiot is out of control.He would never change.A murderer lurking in the shadows.Send him to prison and teach him a lesson.

  4. This is a perfect example of why doctors is against younger people under 25 smoking weed. It’s been proven that it does alter your brain and brings on Mental Illness if their is a family history of it, this is something every user of cannibis should look into before using, growing cannibis and feeding the plant fertilizer will change the chemical composition in the plant causing a lot of negative behaviour to who ever smoke that plant, this young is out of control I am not sure he can be saved, but they should try to rehabilitate him.

  5. Lawlessness has become a part of Vincy culture from the head right down to the foot.

    WHAT CAN US DO????
    We have to start d correction from d head, den d foot will kno we serious bout crime.

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