Police should charge suspects of praedial larceny under the ‘correct act’ – Lawyer
A local lawyer wants police officers to charge persons who are suspected of praedial larceny under what he considers the “correct Act”.
Grant Connell said that on many occasions, persons caught stealing fruit, vegetables or animals are charged with theft under section 209 of the Criminal Code, but instead should be charged under the Agricultural Produce and Livestock (Prevention of Theft) Act No.49 of 2007.
Connell’s comments came on Wednesday, two days after a Richland Park Man, Roneil Bobb pleaded guilty at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court that on Wednesday March 13 at around 4:30 pm, he stole 150 oranges from Grant Connell’s farm at Congo Valley.
Initially, Bobb was charged with theft under section 209 of the Criminal Code, but when he arrived in court, the prosecutor amended the charge and Bobb was made to answer under the Agricultural Produce and Livestock (Prevention of Theft) Act No.49 of 2007.
He was fined EC$1,200, but ended up being sent to prison for six months for giving police the false name ‘Travis Davis’, when he was taken into custody for questioning about the oranges.
Connell said that on the date in question, he was on his farm and was notified that someone was stealing his oranges. He said the police were contacted and Bobb was arrested.
He noted that at the time, Bobb offered him EC$1000 for the oranges but he refused the money as the money may have been illegally obtained through the selling of other farmers’ produce.
Connell noted also that what he found alarming is that the vehicle used in the commission of the crime, PR613, was returned to Bobb even before the court date.
He said that under the Agricultural Produce and Livestock (Prevention of Theft) Act No.49 of 2007, the court is allowed to seize any vehicle used in the commission of these sorts of crimes.
Connell called on the police to exert the same pressure on persons who commit praedial larceny as those charged for marijuana related offences.
“This guy is a pest to all farmers from Richland Park to Georgetown to other parts of the country. He was given station bail the night and that is what I find was crazy,” Connell commented while adding that “the right Act”, which is hardly used, was introduced to shackle persons who terrorize farmers.
“Under that Act you can do stop and search if you suspect someone to be in possession of stolen goods and they can take the vehicle and the magistrate can seize the vehicle.
He said that while he respects the decision of the court to impose a fine on those found guilty, it means the persons who are fined can straight away go on to further terrorise farmers.
He referred to persons who commit praedial larceny as “two-foot rodents”.