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Theft of government laptop lands Chateau youth in jail

Theft of government laptop lands Chateau youth in jail
Julius Carter


Last Friday, a Chateaubelair resident was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for stealing his cousin’s laptop, which had been a loan from the school for his education.

“You’re terrible. You go into the people’s home and take something that is for use for school purposes,” Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias told Julius Carter, who had visited her at the Serious Offences Court before. The last time she gave him “an opportunity to redeem” himself, which she said he seemed to have no interest in.

“The school loaned the child the computer, and look at the state of the computer! All kind of bits and pieces! You have no conscience,” she said about the circumstances, which she found to be very aggravating.

Carter of Chateaubelair pleaded guilty to, between December 1, 2018 and February 26, 2019, at FitzHughes, stealing one black Acer laptop, valued at EC$500, the property of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The laptop was being kept in the aunt’s living room, on a centre table. On February 26, the aunt’s son noticed that the laptop was missing. His mother checked but the laptop was nowhere to be found. She received information, and based on this she reported the matter to the police.

The police took the defendant into custody and a search of his residence was carried out. The laptop was recovered but it was not in the same condition. A box containing fragments of the device was displayed in court.

The defendant, 25 years old, who spoke with an accent, said that his aunt had told him about the laptop and that she said she would let him fix it. He said he went to the house in mid January and saw it.

The chief magistrate asked him if his aunt had ever given him to fix. He replied that she had not.

She noted that it had been reported stolen.

Carter told the chief magistrate that the laptop was in the state it was in because he was “working” on it.

While noting that she did not believe this, Browne-Matthias, cited the offence as extremely aggravating.

“This is a close relative of yours, who after you returned to the area and learned about your circumstances thought it best to mentor and guide and show you the necessary love and care that would be required of any good aunt…,” she began.

She noted that despite Carter’s history, his aunt had wanted to see him progress, and that he betrayed her trust and confidence.

“The school loaned a computer no doubt because the circumstances were such that the parent couldn’t afford to get a computer which was necessary for the completion of work,” the magistrate continued, with increasing emphasis.

After commenting on the condition of the computer and Carter’s lack of conscience, she concluded that he had made up his mind to “pursue this line of behaviour.”

She said his pleading guilty was, “the only credit you’ll get here today.”

In sentencing him she found aggravating that the laptop was for school purposes, stating, “Maybe you don’t care about education but somebody else does.”

Carter had a criminal record for two previous convictions of a similar nature.

Browne-Matthias ended by sentencing him to nine months in prison.

“No conscience man! Your own cousin…,” she noted after the defendant returned to the prisoner’s bay.