Bike thieves fined at the Magistrate Court, Charlestown

By: Gavincia Clarke

(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- Two males, Kenny Claxton and Antonio Hutton, who are no strangers to the District ‘C’ Magistrate court, appeared before the Court on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 to face charges brought against them by police officers.

District 'C' Magistrate Court
District ‘C’ Magistrate Court

Kenny Claxton of Bath Village was charged with larceny and receiving. He pleaded not guilty to the larceny charge but guilty to receiving while the second male, Antonio Hutton of Cotton Ground pleaded not guilty for the same two offences.

Due to Hutton’s not guilty plea he had to prove his case to the court.

The Prosecution led by Inspector Trevor Mills called its first witness Donford Wilkerson of Cotton Ground. The landscaper and coordinator of the ‘Bike Not Bombs’ program told the court that on April 23, 2012 at about 4:00 p.m. he secured a building at Government Road with a number of bicycles inside. On April 25, 2012 he said he received a call which alerted him that one of the doors of the building was opened. Upon his arrival he noticed that ten (10) bicycles were missing and the intruder gained entry through a galvanize window.

Wilkerson added that on May 10, 2012 while driving through Charlestown in the vicinity of the Elquemedo Willett park area he spotted two of the missing bikes. He said he quickly notified Sgt. Carty of the Charlestown Police Station that he saw two persons riding two of the missing bikes and they were heading into town. When questioned by Inspector Mills if he could identify anyone who was riding the bike he pointed across the courtroom to Antonio Hutton. Hutton was apparently on the green bike while another person was on a purple bike.

Next to the stand was Constable Jean Joseph of the bike patrol unit. The Constable stated that at about 11:15 a.m. he received a call from Sgt. Carty and upon instruction he headed out in search of two persons on two bicycles. He later spotted the two bikes parked alongside Scotia Bank and Kenny Claxton standing next to one of the bikes. He said he questioned Claxton about the ownership of the bicycles to which Claxton replied, ‘one of the bikes belongs to me and the other belongs to my friend who went into the bank’. The officer stated he waited outside and when Hutton came out he questioned him about the bicycle. He too admitted that the owned the bike. The officer said after he indicated to Hutton that the police were looking into a larceny matter involving the bikes, Hutton refused to say anything further. The officer indicated that he went inside the bank to make a telephone call but before he did he ordered both males not to leave the spot. Upon his return Hutton was gone but Claxton was present.

Sergeant Alanzo Carty also gave evidence and stated that he saw Hutton on a ‘maroon, reddish’ bike and Claxton on a ‘greenish, bluish’ bike.

In Hutton’s defense he said that this is a case where the officers were fabricating a story against him. Hutton stated the officers said they saw him on a ‘maroonish’ bike but in court he saw a purple bike. Hutton said that Wilkerson said he saw him on a green bike but he Hutton could not ride two bikes at the same time. Hutton denied being the friend Claxton spoke about. He further stated that if Carty had seen him pass on a bike, then he Carty would have chased after him.

Her Honor Yasmine Clarke based her ruling on the evidence of Wilkerson and Sgt. Carty that they both identified Hutton as one of the males riding the bicycles. She further stated that there was no direct evidence that Hutton broke into the building but the law presumes that if a person is caught with a stolen item soon after the item is listed as missing, then that person is presumed to be the thief.

Magistrate Clarke found him guilty of stealing. The case of receiving stolen property was dismissed against him.

Hutton before sentencing told the court that he had to do surgery on his foot and he could not afford to miss it and if he missed the surgery he would be unable to pay for it another time. Claxton on the other hand said he has offered to give his father one of his kidneys. He told the Court that he had no knowledge that the bike was stolen. He claimed he picked it up from under a tamarind tree in Bath Village.

To this Magistrate smirked and said, ‘when you guys are trying to fool me you must remember I also live in the community’. She told the men that she would give them the benefit of the doubt and she would not send them to prison.

Both males are to compensate the bike program $2000.00 each in 6 months or in default serve 12 months imprisonment. Before leaving, she told Claxton that he was a young man and he should go out and seek employment otherwise he would end up in prison or dead.

After that matter, Hutton faced another charge on a different matter. The Prosecution had charged him with wounding. To this he pleaded guilty.

He was fined an additional $1000.00 for the wounding of ‘Joey’ Davis of Cotton Ground. The money is to be paid in 3 months or serve 6 months imprisonment.

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