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The defendant, Devorn Baptiste, in police custody on Friday, June 3, 2022.
The defendant, Devorn Baptiste, in police custody on Friday, June 3, 2022.
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An Arnos Vale man has been jailed for trespassing, at night, onto a property where a woman lived alone.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne handed down an eight-month sentence on the man, Devorn Baptiste after finding him guilty of a charge that on March 24, he entered on the premises of Pamela Gibson, at Dorsetshire Hill, with intent to commit theft.

Browne, in handing down her ruling at the Serious Offences Court, said that the issue was whether Baptiste was on Gibson’s property on date and time alleged.

She noted that the burden rests at all times on the prosecution and that does not shift and that the standard is beyond reasonable doubt.

The chief magistrate recalled that the prosecution called four witnesses and the defendant gave evidence on his own behalf, after which submissions were made.

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The prosecution’s case was that Baptiste was at Gibson’s house on the date and time in question.

Baptiste’s defence was that the case was one of mistaken identity and said even if he was on Gibson’s property as alleged, there was no intent to steal but to watch television as Gibson had stated.

The magistrate discussed the legal guidelines in relation to such cases, noting that even if a witness is honest, articulate, clear, seemingly certain, the witness may be wrong.

She said the court must consider the length of time the accused was allegedly under observation, the distance, and the lighting.

Browne said the length of time between original observation and subsequent identification is relevant.

She said that the quality of evidence is critical, adding that if it is good and remains good at the close of the accused’s case, the danger of mistaken identity is less.

“The evidence of Gibson was good and remains so throughout the trial,” Browne held.

She pointed out that there was a face-to-face observation, the distance between her and that the accused was 6 to 10 feet.

“The area was well-lit by a streetlight which flooded and completely illuminated [Gibson’s] yard on the date in question,” the chief magistrate said, adding that Gibson made a report to the police immediately after and came up on the defendant at the police station.

Gibson was shown an ID parade of photographs of people of like characteristics at her home.

“The words in the parade were not the best choice but they did not invalidate the process,” the chief magistrate said, adding that other supporting evidence was that Gibson stated Baptiste was wearing a t-shirt and long multi-coloured pants with varying shades of red.

Baptiste, in his evidence, stated that he was wearing a white shirt and red short pants.

He accounted for his presence in Dorsetshire Hill, saying he was in the holding cell at Central Police Station along with two other men because they had called this name as being present at an incident in Dorsetshire Hill, which he knew nothing about.

Baptiste was represented by Counsel Michael Wyllie, who rejected the magistrate’s ruling and said he was going to appeal.

The chief magistrate chided the lawyer for his conduct in court, telling him that his conduct “cannot continue to be offensive, … discourteous and disrespectful”.

“The mitigation for the defendant is that this is a wrong decision, blatantly wrong decision and I have to appeal this matter. That is how I feel about this. You are going against the law,” Wyllie had said, resulting in the magistrate chiding him about his conduct.

In his submission on sentencing, prosecutor Station Sergeant of Police Renrick Cato said that while Baptiste’s previous convictions are not for criminal trespass, they are for offences that involved entering on the property of others.

He said that in 2017 Baptiste was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary.

The prosecutor told the court that based on Baptiste’s previous convictions, the time of the night when the offence was committed, the fact that a female lived alone in the house, the fact what while Baptiste gave his address as Arnos Vale but has convictions for offences in Georgetown, a custodial sentence should be imposed.

“He was in prison for five years from 2017. That was not a deterrent. I don’t know what else might be a deterrent,” Cato said.

The chief magistrate then invited the defendant to mitigate on his own behalf.

Baptiste said he did not commit the crime and asked for a bond or a suspended sentence, adding, “because I ain’t really do it, so I will like you to have some mercy on me”.

The court established a starting point of 10% of the maximum 12-month sentence, and after considering the aggravating and mitigating feature of the offence and the offender, arrived at a sentence of eight months in prison.

The 22 days that Baptiste spent on remand was deducted from his sentence.

One reply on “Man jailed for night-time trespass onto woman’s property”

  1. It has become all too common here where some of the writings doesn’t consider the needs of the reader – what information should be conveyed and how much detail should be included to keep their interest.

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