How did you come by such identity information?
Chief Justice Sykes sentences young man to 2 years, suspended; fines him $500,000Monday, July 19, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — “Parliament has taken this offence so seriously that they didn't bother to give it to the parish court judge. They said, 'No, man, it must go straight to the Supreme Court, big court.' So I have to accept the message that the parliamentarians are sending,” said Chief Justice Bryan Sykes as he scolded a young man last Thursday after sentencing him to two years suspended, plus a fine of half-million dollars in this western city.
Shanor Brown, 23, had pleaded guilty to possession of identity information with intent to commit an offence was 18 when he was charged by the police. He had no previous conviction.
The chief justice spent time explaining to him why his action could not be tolerated:
“Whatever penalties are imposed now it has to deter others. We must show that we, here in Jamaica, are outraged by this kind of conduct and need to send a signal that persons who engage in this kind of activity now may appreciate that it is a high-risk activity. And what is the risk? A fine and/or imprisonment,” stated Justice Sykes.
Court documents indicated that on the night of February 27, 2017 Brown's iPhone was searched and identity materials, including names, telephone numbers, and addresses for several individuals living overseas were found.
The phone also contained copies of credit cards and Western Union receipts.
It was later sent to the lab where more damning information was retrieved.
“This suggests, Mr Brown, that you were an active participant in this kind of activity,” stated Justice Sykes. “More often than not the victims of these crimes are the elderly. Elderly abuse, tricking them out of their money. That is a terrible thing.
“Taking advantage of a person's vulnerability. So, what you need to do now is when you leave here now, you must say to your friends that the judge is serious about this matter,” Sykes insisted.
“Remember now, after today, if you are convicted for any punishable sentences of six months or more, this two years is activated, and any other term of imprisonment that the judge may want to impose on you.
“... And since you try to fleece people now, I think it is only fair that we extract some money from you,” the judge added before giving Brown until Friday, October 29, 2021 to pay the half-million dollars.
Brown's lawyer, Kerisa McKenzie, stated that her client is a young man with a bright future before him, adding that he does sound engineering and is capable of rehabilitation. She indictaed that a social enquiry report had reveal that the community and family were surprised about what had happened.
“He understands that he had made a mistake and is remorseful,” she pleaded, asking Justice Sykes to have mercy on him, as a custodial sentence would set him back.
The chief justice, nonetheless, later handed down a verdict of two years' imprisonment, suspended, explaining that for such a breach the maximum prison sentence is 15 years and a fine with no upper limit.