Father of 17 risks being locked away for Christmas
If a 55-year-old defendant does not pay a fine of $5,660 by December 20, he faces jail time for his cannabis possession, and the reality of not being able to spend Christmas with his 17 children.
Kenroy Richardson of Chateaubelair/Bequia was nabbed on October 17, in Adam’s Bay, Bequia, with 5,140 g of the still illegal drug.
On this date, at around 1:10 p.m., the police were on mobile patrol heading in the direction of “The Liming”. The leader of the patrol, Corporal 587 Simon, noticed a red and black speedboat coming from a southerly direction, and instructed the driver of the vehicle to park in a secluded area. The Corporal kept his eye on the vessel, and he saw the defendant jump out of the boat and begin running. This aroused their suspicion and the driver gave chase, before the Corporal told him to stop, and they chased after Richardson on foot.
As the party closed in on the fleeing figure, the bag he was carrying was dropped. One of the officers stayed with the discarded camouflage backpack while the Corporal continued in hot pursuit. The defendant was caught and the bag opened in his presence. Inside of the hefty bag, cannabis was revealed, along with, 39 packets of cigarettes and 25 bamboo papers. Richardson’s ID card, driver’s license, and wallet were also found, and money amounting to $815.25. The breakdown for this money was, four $100 bills, one $50, 18 $20, one $5, and one 25 cents.
While under caution, the defendant said that he gave a man $500 to bring him from Chateaubelair.
From what he told the Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne last Friday, he was pressured into the act.
Richardson mitigated that he did not give the police any trouble and that he normally sells tobacco and fruits.
After the magistrate realized that Richardson was speaking in a Barbadian accent, he informed that he had spent 14 years in Barbados, but that he’s been in St Vincent since 1986. He also noted that he had 17 children, that his youngest was nine years old, and his first child was born in 1981. “It’s been kinda rough,” he told the magistrate.
Browne told him that he “seems to be very integral in their life” and commented “so kudos to you.”
After standing the matter down to consider, the chief magistrate called Richardson up again. As the defendant faced the judge, he made one last request that “generously if you could give me a little time to pay,” although no sentence had not yet been handed down.
However, the magistrate began her contemplation with a custodial sentence of seven months.
Following this, Browne considered many things, included that Richardson had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, that his role was categorized as a lesser one, and that he seemed to be engaged in the role due to pressure.
In mitigation, it was noted that Richardson was the primary carer for children, even though some of them are adults, the magistrate stated.
In all the circumstances, the court felt that an appropriate sentence would be a fine of $8,500, which was reduced to $5,660 after the one third discount was applied because of the guilty plea.
Richardson was given until December 20 to pay this, or he would spend a year in prison.
The $815.25 was confiscated by the state.
When the judge was telling Richardson that he could appeal the sentence if he was not satisfied, as defendants are usually informed, he told her “I’m quite satisfied because I know it’s against the law.”