As a teen who was barred from driving last month was nabbed driving a rented car at 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne asked whether there had been any shooting in St. Vincent the previous day.
“Because these are things we have to consider,” she said at the Serious Offences Court.
Acting Sergeant of Police 189 Caesar told the court that the police had impounded the vehicle, pending further investigation.
Elon Butler, 17, of Pembroke, initially pleaded not guilty to a charge that on Nov. 7, at Lowmans Hill Public Road he drove R9597 whilst being disqualified from holding or obtaining a permit for six months at the Serious Offences Court by Magistrate Browne on Oct. 18, 2023.
He pleaded similarly to a charge that he drove the vehicle without there being in force a policy of insurance.
The teen told the court that he was not the one who had rented the vehicle, but during his interaction with the magistrate, admitted that he was driving when police stopped the vehicle.
“So, that is the point. You were driving the car,” the chief magistrate told Butler
But the teen said he was not the one who had rented the vehicle.
“You should not have been driving it. So, you are guilty. By virtue of your declaration, you are guilty,” the chief magistrate said.
Butler told the court that he was taking the car from Pembroke to Frenches and had driven it to Lowmans Hill when he was caught.
He said he was the only occupant in the vehicle at the time.
“The person who rented it was not in the vehicle so is you now. And you’re saying is not you rent it,” Browne told Butler.
She asked Butler why the person who had rented the vehicle had not taken it back.
“It’s an unknown person,” Caesar told the court.
“Anyone was shot yesterday? Because these are things we have to consider?” the chief magistrate asked the prosecution.
The magistrate said Butler is young and seemed not to have anybody else he was connected to.
“There are so many incidents in the Leeward area recently with shootings, killings. It seems a little interesting,” Browne said.
She remanded Butler into custody until today (Wednesday) when he is scheduled to appear before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court for sentencing.
“I just don’t understand it … you not completing school, the reason why you didn’t complete school, the deviant behaviour and you are persisting.
“Even if you did not rent a vehicle, somebody rented it. Who is using you as the front person? These things are concerning,” the chief magistrate said.
Earlier, Caesar told the court that Butler had been disqualified from driving because he had been driving without being the holder of a permit.
The teen told the chief magistrate he was not in school, having quit J.P. Eustace Memorial Secondary School at form 4.
“I am sure I had a little word with you about that. Seventeen, JP Eustace, not finishing school. I am certain we had a little conversation about that. Didn’t I?” she told Butler, who responded in the affirmative.
Butler told the court he is employed and lives with his mother “but not in the same house”.