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Browne calls for rehab centre for youths

Browne calls for rehab centre for youths

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The streaming tears that rolled down the cheeks of lawyer Bayliss Frederick, were not enough to save his 16-year-old client from going to prison for the next three-and-a-half years.{{more}}

“I am begging you with every fibre of my being to not send him to jail,” cried Frederick.

Senior Magistrate Donald Browne however slapped Evander Thomas of Chauncey with the heavy custodial sentence on Tuesday at the Kingstown Magistrates Court.

The lad first appeared in court on October 22, 2007 and pleaded guilty to having one shotgun in his possession. He was remanded until his sentencing hearing.

At the sentencing on Tuesday, the veteran lawyer pleaded with Magistrate Browne to put the youth in a rehabilitation programme rather than sending him to prison.

“I know that the newspapers have been whipping the judicial system as not being hard enough in sentencing, as if they are the ones who are empowered to dispense justice,” Frederick stated. “I have to instruct you to balance the law with the society and see what can be done to help this child.”

Frederick was of the opinion that if Thomas goes to jail, he will leave a seasoned criminal.

It was a joint operation carried out by Drug squad and members of the Rapid Response Unit that led officers to the gun.

In a statement given by Thomas, he told police that he went up into a mango tree and found the shotgun.

“I don’t like to send young people like him to prison but I don’t have a choice at this moment. The only place to send him is prison and we’ll have another criminal on our hands,” Magistrate Donald Browne responded.

“Why don’t these persons who hold themselves up in the society get somewhere to put these people? Why haven’t they seen the need for a facility to put them?

There are a lot of Government buildings that are not in use 24/7,” were some of the questions posed by Browne. The magistrate also declared that he would assist by making a monetary contribution to help in this venture.

“Regard the situation in society, if I were to ask the defendant to pay $20,000, he can’t pay that.

I would be wasting my time,” Browne stated.

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