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Lawyer makes plea for woman who stole from him

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A $2,000 collection of stamps was stolen from a veteran lawyer’s office, but the lawyer still pleaded for the court to be merciful towards the 32-year-old mother who had committed the crime.

Attorney Raymond Cadette was called to the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court after one Otricia Smart pleaded guilty to stealing five $200 stamps, and 200 $5 stamps, at a total value of $2,000, from the Cane Garden resident.

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett told Smart, who said that she would be turning 33 that month, that he had known the lawyer all his life. Burnett told her that “he is one of the most generous persons you can find.”

“I know it would have pained Mr Cadette’s heart to report this,” the magistrate continued.

Later in the proceedings, Burnett asked Cadette if he had anything that he wished to say.

While saying that Smart had one of her children with her at that time, Cadette commented, “You could see she was desperate, because she asked me for money to help the child, and I didn’t have.

“…All I can ask the court is to be lenient, you know, because she was desperate, I could see it,” the attorney requested, reiterating that the mother had come asking him for money to buy a shoe for her child, but that he had none to give her at that time.

The facts given by the prosecution in the court was that on the date in question, the secretary at Cadette’s firm had left the general room, where Smart and her three-year-old were, and had also left the pouch containing the stamps on her desk. When the secretary returned, Smart handed some documents to her, saying that she had accidentally knocked them off the desk. The secretary noted soon afterwards that the pouch with the stamps was missing, and ran outside to check for Smart, who had left earlier, but discovered that she was already out of sight.

The stamps were eventually recovered by the police.
The defendant, who resides in Greiggs, is a mother of three children, the youngest of which is three years. She told Burnett that she was just starting a job this month.

Smart appeared to show great remorse for her actions, indicating right from the start that she didn’t know what was in the pouch until after she picked it up. “I’m really sorry, really, really sorry,” she noted.

“You are?…And you were put to the test and you failed?,” the magistrate said, remaining stern.

The defendant then decided to ask for another chance.

Certainly, at that point it did not seem as if luck was on Smart’s side, Burnett also commenting, “She’s a female, it matters not. There is one law for male and female, and I sentence same whether you are male or female.”

Prosecutor Corlene Samuel had also been asked to ‘weigh in’ on the matter, and she noted, “Your honour, children learn from what they see, that’s one of the aggravating factors, she had this child with her.”

“You have this thing in you Madam, I can’t pretend about it…for dishonesty,” Burnett said, making a final statement before handing down his sentence, “You started way in 99’… 2003, 2004, theft, burglary, burglary, escaping lawful custody. You are a female, but your conduct,…because males are the one who are really involved in these type of crimes.”

However, he handed down a nine-month prison sentence, to be suspended for one year. “You can’t have children and behaving in that way. What do you expect, from them?” the defendant was told.

Smart apologized to Cadette, who was seated mere feet away from the dock where she stood, after she was told to by the magistrate.

She left the courtroom in a swish of skirts soon after.

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