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Clare Valley youth jailed for burglary

Clare Valley youth jailed for burglary
Renson Roberts

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A Clare Valley youth will spend the next 18 months in jail after breaking into the shop of a 56-year-old man, stealing his money, and using a hammer to beat him about his head and body.

Renson Roberts, a 24-year-old, appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) this Tuesday, charged with entering the liquor and provision shop of Cladius Lewis of Clare Valley as a trespasser, and stealing $570 belonging to Lewis.
Further to this, he was charged with the unlawful and malicious wounding of Lewis.

After Roberts entered guilty pleas to the November 16 offences, the court heard what happened at approximately 1am that morning. Lewis had apparently received information that someone was in his shop. When he went to his shop, after hearing a noise, he went near the entrance outside. The defendant then jumped out at him, but Lewis held on to the young man. Roberts then started beating him with the hammer, and Lewis fell to the ground.

Roberts had apparently been attempting to use his t-shirt to hide his face, and he ran leaving his t-shirt and the hammer behind.

When the police came on the scene, they found these items, and an investigation was carried out.

Roberts was later taken into custody, and gave a statement admitting to the offences.

Lewis is said to have received three injuries to his head, and one to his back, among others.

The defendant was known to the court to have at least one conviction.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett asked the young defendant what he had to say for himself, and Roberts asked him for a little sympathy. He also said that he was “kind of intoxicated” and frightened.

Prosecutor, Corporal (Ag) Corlene Samuel, indicated that the injuries could have been much worse, commenting “That hammer is heavy.”

“To burglarize the man place is one thing, but beat him with a hammer!” the magistrate stated.

He perused the medical form for the injuries that Lewis received, and read of a 11.5cm wound, and wounds that needed two, four and six stitches.

“And the rules I have to work with, it has to be concurrent sentence,” the magistrate said.

“What about the $570? Any of that was recovered?” he asked, to which the Prosecutor said that it had not.

“I do give him credit for his early guilty plea, he will get credit and discount for that,” Burnett stated in delivering his sentence. The established practice in the criminal court is to allow a one third reduction of the final sentence if a defendant enters a guilty plea at an early stage of the proceedings; a concept which the senior magistrate has pondered on before.

However, in this case the magistrate indicated that the credit received, “will be erased by the aggravating factor of beating a man in his head with a hammer, having burglarized the man’s business.”

“Whatever discount you got – I have to give you it – but the aggravating factor wiped that out completely in my view,” he continued.

For the offence of burglary, a nine-month sentence was meted out.

In the case of the wounding offence, Roberts was sentenced to spend 18 months in prison, to run concurrently with the offence of burglary.

Nonetheless, young Roberts appeared to be cheerfully throwing up a gang sign and what seemed to be ‘deuces’ as he entered the prison transport.