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Testimonials give young couple a second chance

Testimonials give young couple a second chance
KESROY RYAN(L) and Hazel-Ann Hazel(R)

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AYOUNG COUPLE sentenced for the theft of a drill from a store in Kingstown has been given a second chance following testimonials from Marion House about both their efforts to change.

Lawyer Samantha Robertson represented Kesroy Ryan and Hazel-Ann Hazell when they both entered guilty pleas before the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 9.

She said that the 20 year olds are involved in one year programs at Marion House, and that the House was willing to pay a fine on the defendants’ behalf if the court decided to impose one.

The drill has been recovered and is in good working condition, the lawyer also posited.

Ryan, who was only 18 years old when he committed the offence, has since tried to commit suicide, Robertson stated, noting to Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett that there is a question of mental health.

“Having spoken to them I guess that there was a feeling of frustration that they were unemployed and they weren’t in a position to do any better,” the lawyer stated.

She continued that the situation was a “little difficult” because before the magistrate were two “20 year old children”, “who have to resort to stealing because there’s a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.”

Prosecutor Corlene Samuel countered that even though the drill is in good condition, it is a used drill now and Gibson’s Building Supplies would not take it back.

Although both defendants had been previously implicated in another similar matter, only Ryan was convicted for it, and therefore he was the only one with a criminal record. Therefore, the prosecutor said that Hazell’s lack of a criminal record could be considered, as well as both their ages.

On the other hand, an aggravating factor of the matter is that “they went into the store, the both of them worked together and they took these items,” Samuel said, and also “They went back to the scene of the crime asking for drill bits for the said item that was stolen.”

Samuel was referring to the facts of the matter, which outline that on September 7, 2018, the couple went to Gibson’s Building Supplies. Ryan and his mother approached a store clerk who was working in the aisle where the drills are shelved, including a yellow and black battery powered drill worth $745.95. They asked the worker about some tiles, and she left to get a quotation, leaving the individuals in the aisle alone.

The next day the defendants returned to the store, and spoke to the same worker. They asked her about bits for a drill. At that point the worker realized that the yellow and black battery powered drill was missing, and only the bag that had contained it remained on the shelf.

CCTV footage revealed that when the worker left to get a quotation for the tiles, Ryan took up the drill and put it in his girlfriend’s handbag.

A report was made, and the police located the defendants. Ryan took the police to his stepfather, from whom they recovered the drill.

The Director of Marion House, Jeannie Ollivierre, spoke on their behalf, informing that they had come to seek the help of the Marion House of their own volition.

She said that in January “they walked in, they were not referred, they were not brought, but they walked willingly in,” and are a part of their juvenile justice reform programs wherein they learn a sustainable skill to help them become employed. During the program they receive a stipend for transportation and meals, clothes if they need, counselling, and they must complete community service.

“…In discussion with them, they realized that they’re going along a path that is not legal, and a path that will not sustain them and make them productive youths in the Vincentian society,” Ollivierre told the magistrate.

She reiterated that Marion House is willing to pay “whatever damages” on behalf of the two.

“Parents have to accept responsibility and it’s the parents in my estimation your honour that is sending these children, these youths to steal, and Marion House has a concern with that,” Ollivierre noted.

The counsellor at Marion House, Jean Charles, also spoke, indicating that especially Ryan was very remorseful, and was in tears when being counselled.

“They resolved that they would not take that path any longer. And being a part of Marion House, they would try to do their best to work,” for what they wanted, she said.

However, the magistrate had seen the two defendants before, as he was the adjudicator in the previous theft matter for which Ryan was convicted.

“Both of them they have to be willing to change! Because if they are not willing to change they will be back in court,” he told the representatives.

He said that the last time the two were before him they did basically the same thing, and it shows they planned what they wanted to do in advance.

However, the magistrate said he would not impose a burden of payment on Marion House.

“I want both of you to turn your life around,” Burnett told the defendants, “if you don’t stop both of you may go to prison. So I think this is your last chance for both of you.”

“It pains me when I see young people in court like this. This is a job I have to do but I take no pleasure in seeing young people coming to court,” he stated, before placing them both on a $1000 bond. If they breach this bond, they will pay forthwith or spend three months incarcerated.

This is Ryan’s second bond, as he was previously placed on a $1500 bond, with a default of six months. However, the theft of the drill was committed before the crime for which Ryan received his first bond.

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