Chief Magistrate chides youth for ‘stupid’ way to get his first conviction
Crying could be heard in the courtroom this week as a 20-year-old man got himself his first criminal conviction for stealing from a co-worker.
Before last Friday, June 12, Neeko Jack of Green Hill worked together with Jarron Fox of Largo Height, at the St Vincent Brewery Ltd, in the packing department, and they knew each other very well.
However, Jack appeared before the Serious Offences Court this Wednesday, June 17, charged with stealing EC$225 from Fox, who is 23 years old.
Last Friday, at 4 pm, Fox received his pay of $240, which he checked, and from which he took out $15. Fox then put the remainder in his bag, and put his bag in his locker. It wasn’t until that night, at around 8:30 pm, when he went to retrieve something from his bag that Fox discovered his pay was missing. His supervisor was alerted, and the following Monday, the CCTV footage was reviewed. The cameras had captured Jack removing the bag and rifling through it.
The young man gave no statement to the police, but admitted his guilt before the court.
Otherwise, he gave no further remarks to Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne.
The magistrate told him that she doesn’t like offences of dishonesty, and that especially when persons are working together, they want to be able to trust each other. She commented that the complainant worked hard for his money.
“What a really stupid way to now get a criminal record”, the chief magistrate said, adding that it could hinder his future progress. “We have to learn to live within our means.”
As she spoke, a woman sitting alert in the courtroom, observing while the proceedings, seemed to be crying.
When asked what he did with the money the young man said that he spent it.
The chief magistrate told the defendant that sentencing guidelines suggest that youth ought to be given an opportunity to redeem themselves. Browne said that she would give him such an opportunity, and to think about the impact his action would have had on himself and his family.
Therefore, while she deemed that money, although a relatively small amount would have gone a long way for the victim, and Jack breached his trust, Browne decided not to begin at a jail term.
Instead she told Jack to compensate Fox $225 forthwith or go to prison for two weeks.
The chief magistrate told Jack that he wasn’t supposed to make his mother go through this embarrassment, as everyone would be watching her and speaking about her “tiefing son.”