Ex-cop fined for 60 pounds of stolen beef
ALTHOUGH HE was found guilty of possession of over 60 pounds of beef reasonably suspected of being stolen, an ex-cop managed to graze past the possibility of prison last week.
Last Wednesday, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett concluded that the evidential threshold required to convict Granville DeFreitas for the 2017 offence, had been met by the prosecution.
Therefore, DeFreitas, a 29-year-old former member of the police force, stood convicted of having in possession, at North Union on July 4, 2017, 62.5 pounds of beef, reasonably suspected of being stolen.
The maximum prison sentence for this offence is up to six months imprisonment, but defense attorney Ronald Marks believed that a bond would instead be in order for his client, who was a first time offender.
Marks also mitigated that there was no “reported victim” in the matter.
Two prosecutors made submissions to the court, Prosecutor Sergeant Renwick Cato, making submissions first, in the absence of the prosecutor who had been involved in the matter.
Cato wished for DeFreitas to bear the weight of the uniform that he used to wear, saying, “We have to set examples, whether ex or present, we have to set examples for persons in the community,” the Sergeant stated.
In his plea for the court to send a message for what he deemed to be a serious offence, Cato expressed, “the farmers are suffering too much in St Vincent and the Grenadines because of other persons who are not planters, [who] want to be reapers.”
Afterwards, Cato yielded the floor to Prosecutor Sergeant Delroy Tittle, who had prosecuted the matter, and who was now present in the courtroom.
Tittle began by stating, “There is a farmer who lost a bovine, a young cattle…”
Marks immediately rose to object to this statement, dismissing it as speculation, and stated that the case was not one of theft.
When Tittle continued, saying that there was a farmer who would never be compensated, Marks interjected “What he name?”
Tittle had asked that the court impose a jail sentence, and cited a case for which, he said, that the six months imprisonment had been imposed.
This caused Marks to say that he would put his head on the chopping block that no magistrate in St Vincent and the Grenadines would impose the maximum on a guilty plea.
Marks made further submissions that Parliament did not agree with Cato that the offence was serious, and that it could not compare to theft, where 14 years is the maximum sentence.
“In the circumstances we submit that this is not an offence where there is no other appropriate punishment but prisons. And your honour, it is unfair, to clothe the defendant in a uniform that he has surrendered,” Marks ended.
Burnett stated that he was not minded to impose a custodial sentence in the case. He continued that he believed a fine to be appropriate.
The magistrate gave the unemployed man until March 15 to pay a fine of $1500, in default of which DeFreitas will spend three months in prison.