Fleet-footed man sentenced to six months jail time
This weekend saw one man being chased by the police across town, after having been caught attempting to throw a bag into the prison compound.
On Tuesday, Oscar Samuel was sentenced to four months imprisonment for the crime of attempting to introduce a prohibited article into Her Majesty’s Prisons.
At noon on Saturday, January 23, PC 540 Darrell Sam was among a party of officers patrolling the Paul’s Avenue public road, in the vicinity of Stop Light restaurant and the St Vincent Electricity Services Building.
The driver of the vehicle, Corporal Davis, noticed Samuel throwing a black plastic bag with contents up the wall of Her Majesty’s Prisons.
He brought this to the attention of PC Sam, and stopped the vehicle beside Samuel, speaking to him.
Samuel apparently kicked off his Nike slippers and took off running through the streets of Paul’s Avenue, with the Constable and Corporal in pursuit. At this point, the police were not able to catch the fleet-footed Samuel.
The police officers returned to the scene, retrieved the black plastic bag, and the slippers, before setting off once more to look for the fugitive.
It is said that while they were driving along the Wilson Hill road, the defendant was seen walking behind Bishop’s College school. When the officers drove up behind him, Samuel started to run again. He crossed the playing field, and scaled the fence of the St George’s Cathedral compound.
However, the officers were in hot pursuit, and caught Samuel in the church yard.
The 40-year-old janitor of New Montrose told the police “is weed and thing in the bag, and ah work me go do.”
On arrival at the police station, a search of the bag revealed five smaller bags containing cannabis, four packs of Pall Mall cigarettes, nine cigarette lighters, Tobacco leaves, four bottles with alcohol, and six packs of wrapping paper.
“Ah man me go help”, the defendant said.
He later gave a written statement admitting to the offence.
At the Serious Offences Court on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne asked him if he had anything he wished to say for her to take into account in sentencing him.
The defendant didn’t say anything and so the magistrate asked him “…because you realize this is a serious offence?”
Samuel nodded, but continued to remain silent for a long time.
Browne informed him that the section of law under which he was charged outlines that “any person who, without lawful authority, brings, or attempts by any means whatsoever to introduce into any prison, or place or attempts to place where prisoners labour, any prohibited article is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $1500 and to imprisonment for six months.”
“The law says that I can fine you, as well as confine you to prison. So you understand what you’re facing now,” the magistrate said.
Nevertheless, the defendant only said that he didn’t mind paying a fine.
After a period of contemplation, the magistrate delivered her sentence.
Having considered the seriousness and consequences of the offence, she started at 50 per cent of the maximum sentence, which calculates to three months in prison.
In noting what aggravated the offence, she said that not only is it a serious attempt to breach security protocol, but “it was committed at a time when you were mandated by the Prime Minister to stay home as far as possible – on national television, radio, by various national forum – that you are to remain indoors for health purposes.”
“…You used that opportunity when persons would have been indoors more so, to cause mischief,” the magistrate stated.
Additionally, his efforts in evading the police was another factor to add to this.
In terms of Samuel’s character, the court noted that he has previous convictions of a serious nature.
There was nothing to mitigate.
The magistrate said she added one month in prison for each aggravating factor, which came to a six-month term in prison.
She then deducted one third of the sentence for his guilty plea, as is the usual practice. This brought the final sentence to four months incarceration.
The items are to be confiscated.
“This is a very serious offence and it cannot be condoned and the court must send a strong message,” to persons thinking of committing it, she concluded.