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Justice

A Layou teen who told the court he was to travel soon “to pick fruits” has sullied his criminal record by stealing cash from inside a taxi and spending the money on alcohol and fast food, although he is diabetic.

Philbert Stephens, 19, appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court, on March 13, and pleaded guilty to a charge that on March 11, at Kingstown, he stole US$105, the property of Nigel Jack, of Largo Height.

The facts of the case are that on the date in question, about 1:20 p.m., the virtual complainant parked his vehicle, H8081, at the entrance to the Kingstown Port and went on errands.

The windows of the vehicle were up and the doors were closed but not locked.

When Jack returned about an hour later, the pocket below the dashboard where he had placed the money was open and the money was missing.

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Investigations led to Stephens and police officers from Layou handed him over to Kingstown.

Investigations also revealed that Stephens was in the vicinity of the Port at the time of the incident.

He told officers he had observed Jack and saw him leave the vehicle after which he proceeded to walk around the vehicle about seven times before taking the cash.

The defendant then converted the money to EC currency at a store where he works in Kingstown.

The court heard that Stephens then brought six Carib beers, KFC and Guinness Smooth in Kingstown.

Later, he bought more beers at a shop in Layou and paid EC$25 for a tattoo and had a balance of EC$20 for the tattooist.

However, Stephens told the court he never received the tattoo.

“Be content with what you have,” Browne told the defendant, “You don’t play with your freedom.”

The chief magistrate said the offence carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.

“I go pay for it,” Stephens said and told the court he is a diabetic.

On hearing about the man’s medical condition, the magistrate told him he has no value for his life as he should not be drinking.

Browne told the defendant that he was killing himself slowly.

“You have no value for your own self, so why must I bother?” Browne said.

“All this wasn’t necessary,” she told him. “People would now look at you as a thief.

The court ordered the defendant, who had no previous conviction, to pay EC$277.15 in compensation.

Police Sergeant Atnel Ash interjected, “With the same swiftness!”

“You know me too well,” the magistrate responded, adding that the officer knew what she was going to say.

The magistrate ordered that the EC277.15 be paid forthwith.

She also ordered restitution of EC$20 which was recovered from the defendant.

Stephen was also fined EC$500 to be paid by March 20 or one month in prison.