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Shop-breaker's speech impresses magistrate

Sunday, January 05, 2014    

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TWO young men who broke into a shop and stole $5,000 worth of goods escaped jail time after the magistrate was won over by a moving speech by one of the accused in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court last week.

Cousins Ryleem Style and Chevonne Strachan pleaded guilty to shop breaking, but Strachan apologised for his actions and sought to persuade Resident Magistrate Simone Wolf Reece to be lenient with them.

"It's the first time I ever do something like this, and I am sorry for my action and am begging some leniency," he said, as he pulled a piece of paper with the speech from his pocket.

"In life you have a thing called action, and for every action there is a thing called reaction, and for every reaction there is a thing called consequence," he read.

"But we are all sinners, and we all make mistake, and we don't have the perfect life, and we don't have the perfect job, but there is a thing in life called wants and needs," Strachan continued.

"We are sorry and we deserve to be punished for sure, but in life something have to happen for us to wise up, cause if we did know that something like this a go happen this would a never happen, but it will never happen again," he said, finishing his speech.

But the magistrate, although impressed by the speech, scolded the men for their behaviour.

"Nobody in life has the perfect job or perfect life, nothing is going to be perfect, but that does not justify your behaviour," she told the men.

The magistrate also told them that there is a difference between wants and needs.

"Plenty things I want to buy when I go in the store. I see so much things me eyes dazzle, and the wants in me rise up but the wants and my pocket don't coincide," she said.

"But after that speech with all those fancy words that sound nice and flow nicely I want to know why you were in the woman's store?" she asked.

"Hunger," Strachan answered. "It is not as easy as you think."

But the magistrate replied: "You think it easy fi me send you go prison, but the Lord give me the strength to do it."

She then asked them what they did for a living and Strachan told her that he seeks customers for the vendors at Pearnel Charles Arcade in downtown Kingston and makes money off the goods when they are sold.

"Me a go be honest with you," he said. "For example, if a shoes cost $3,000 we tell them that is $4,000 and we cream off the $1,000."

Style said that he helped his uncle to deliver newspapers, but his uncle had lost the job.

The magistrate then implored the young men to seek legitimate employment and also warned them to stay from criminal activities.

She commended Strachan for his speech and told him that she was going to give them a chance because of it.

She then gave them six-month sentences suspended for 12 months.

Water bottle dispute lands man in prison for 10 days

A man who assaulted a his female neighbour during a dispute over a bottle of water was slapped with a 10-day jail sentence.

The court heard that Devon Dawkins and the complainant had an argument at their home in Kingston over who should move a bottle of water when Dawkins doused the complainant with water and pushed her to the ground.

But Dawkins, who pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm, told the court that it was the complainant who first threw water on him.

"I ask her to move the bottle of water and she say I can't tell her anything and I must go ask the boss," Dawkins said.

He said the complainant then took up a knife and splashed some of the water on him. He retaliated by splashing her with water, resulting in a fight.

"You realise that this is all foolishness," said Resident Magistrate Opal Smith.

"Yes maam," he answered.

"Ten days," Smith then ordered for Dawkins.

Trickster runs off with woman's BB

A young woman who ran away with another woman's BlackBerry Curve cellphone after she borrowed it to check her Facebook account has been offered bail for the second time in the matter.

The accused, 22-year-old Kimora Williams of Chancery Lane in downtown Kingston, was taken into custody last December and charged with larceny by trick after she conned the complainant and stole her phone.

The complainant was at St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on December 11 when Williams, whom she said she had seen several times in the park, borrowed her phone to log into her Facebook account. The complainant said she gave Williams the phone and a short while after took the phone back. But Williams, she said, grabbed the $20,000-phone and ran off.

When the matter came before the court last December, Williams was granted bail after she pleaded guilty and promised to return the complainant's phone. However, she never showed up and was rearrested.

Last week, when she appeared in court before Magistrate Opal Smith, Williams explained that she had attended court but did not hear her name and was prevented from checking at the court's office by an officer who told her that her name was not on the list.

The magistrate, however, asked her about the complainant's phone and she told the judge that she needed two weeks to get the money.

She was again granted bail in the sum of $20,000 and told to return to court on January 17.

Man gets 9 months for emptying co-worker's account

A man who stole another man's ATM card and withdrew just over $156,000, emptying the account, was slapped with a nine-month prison sentence.

Yohan Hamilton, 29, of Hibiscus Close in St Catherine, was sentenced by Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey after he pleaded guilty to simple larceny in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

Hamilton stole the complainant's card from his bag, which was in a room at Tropical Plaza in Kingston where they were both carrying out electrical work on January 2, 2013.

According to the complainant in his statement, he took Hamilton to the ATM to withdrew some funds after Hamilton begged him to get lunch for him. Hamilton saw when he entered his personal information number (PIN).

The complainant said later that day he went into the changing room and saw Hamilton going through his bag. When he asked Hamilton what he was doing, he told him nothing.

The complainant said that he did not realise that his ATM card was missing until February 11.

But last week when Hamilton appeared in court, he did not admit to stealing the card.

"Is find ah find it and when I find it I thought it was a blessing," he said.

But Pusey told him that he was a thief.

She asked him what he did with the money and he told her that he spent it on his daughter.

He was then sentenced to serve nine months in prison.

Carpenter on cocaine charge

A carpenter who was reportedly caught entering the island with 2.4 pounds of cocaine hidden in a sewing machine was remanded in custody when he appeared in court last Thursday.

The 39-year-old accused, Marlon Jacquette of Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, was held at the Norman Manley International Airport on December 23.

Jacquette arrived at the airport on a flight from Guyana and during security checks his suitcase was reportedly searched and a sewing machine was alleged to have been found containing cocaine.

He was charged with possession of cocaine, dealing in cocaine, importing cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine.

On Thursday, when the matter was mentioned, the court was informed that the forensic certificate was not yet available. As a result, a mention date was scheduled for January 31 and he was remanded into custody.

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