By :St. Clair ‘Sazam’ Hull
(CHARLESTOWN NEVIS)-The District ‘C’ Magistrate Court in Charlestown, Nevis resumed its usual sitting on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 before Her Honor, Yasmine Clarke.
The first matter to be heard was that of Jeffery Lewis a resident of Fountain village. He was charged for beating Akeem Fredericks of New Castle and pleaded guilty to the charge. The incident took place at Club Xoo on Saturday, August 16, 2017.
According to Prosecutor Percival, Fredericks was leaving the club when he mistakenly stepped on the shoes of the defendant, Lewis. She noted, that Fredericks told Lewis that he was sorry and when he turned away, the defendant tapped him on his shoulder and started punching him in his face. She said that someone held the defendant and the altercation was broken up.
In his defense, Lewis indicated that they were in the pool room when Fredericks stepped on his shoes. He said that Fredericks walked off and he followed him and told him what he did. The defendant noted that Fredericks responded with some expletives and he took matters into his own hands and punched him. The defendant said that Fredericks was accompanied by a friend who threw a bottle at him. He indicated that Fredericks told him that he must remember where his son goes to school, and he is going to deal with him.
The victim, Akeem Fredericks gave evidence under oath. He told the Court, that he did stepped on Lewis’ shoes but he told him that he was sorry. He noted that the music was up loud, and that is the reason why the defendant probably did not hear him. He said that Lewis followed him by the gate and he told him, “You can’t hear I say sorry”? He said at that point, the defendant started punching him in his face and on his neck.
The defendant was ordered to pay eight hundred dollars in three months. Failure to comply will be resulted in six months imprisonment.
The second matter to be heard was that of Britany Peets of Mcknight in St. Kitts. She was charged with, importation of cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession with intent to supply, false customs declaration form, false statement to customs officer and imported goods concealed in a manner to deceive a customs officer. She plead guilty to all of the charges.
According to Prosecutor Percival, on February 24, 2017, the defendant arrived at the Vance W. Amory International Airport on a flight from St. Maarten. She noted, that the defendant cleared customs and filled out a form stating that she had nothing which was illegal but she was waiting on another suitcase. Percival stated, that the customs officer took Peets into a room and started searching the suitcase that she indicated that she was waiting on. She said that the officer realized that one part was zipped in a particular way which made him suspicious. The Prosecutor said that whilst searching the suitcase, a white substance was discovered and the defendant said that the suitcase was not hers she got it from a friend.
The Prosecutor indicated that the other piece of luggage was also searched but nothing was found. She said that the officer asked the defendant if she understood the seriousness of the issue and the defendant said that it was not her suitcase. She noted that the cocaine weighed 2300 grams and had a street value of ECD $ 498,960.00
Lawyer representing the defendant, Mr. O’Grenville Browne asked the Court to have mercy on the defendant. He pointed out, that the defendant was 19 years old and prior to the unfortunate incident, she attended the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) in St. Kitts. Browne noted, that the defendant has had an unblemished record for 19 years, having never committed an offence in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said that she was a first time offender, and has been remanded for the past eight months. Browne was of the view, that the Court ought to have taken that into consideration. Browne said that that the defendant has accepted responsibility for her wrongdoing and the drugs have been confiscated. Therefore, was not on the street to affect anyone else. Browne also stated, that the defendant has had a chance to reflect and have thought about her actions.
The defendant, Brittany Peets also addressed the Court. She indicated that she was sorry for what she did. She noted that over the past few months she has thought about a lot of things. Peets said that she wants to finish her education and reach her goals in life.
In making her decision, Her Honor noted that the defendant was fully aware of what she was doing. Her Honor indicated that she can understand someone’s first offense being a small one,but not one as serious as what the defendant did. She pointed out that it will be totally unfair to send a person to prison for a year for stealing a bottle of Jack Daniels and then send the defendant to prison for the same year for a crime that is much more serious. Her Honor also pointed out that she could not have fined the defendant because the law states that she would have to pay three times the amount of what the street value was for the drugs.
Of the six charges that were brought against the defendant, Her Honor sentenced her for five. She was given five years with intent to supply but because she was remanded for the past eight months, a year was taken off the sentence. She was given four years for each of the other charges but the sentences will run concurrently. Therefore, the defendant will only spend four years in prison.
The third and final matter to be heard was that of Akeem Dos Santos of Stoney Grove. He was charged for larceny and gave a guilty plea.
According to Prosecutor Percival, on July 17, 2017, at about 1:25 pm the defendant went into Rams supermarket and stole 1 bottle of Punche cuba, 1 bottle of ciroc vodka, 1 bottle of comparie and 1 bottle of Jack Daniels. She indicated that he was caught by one of the persons who worked at Rams and the charge was brought against him.
The Prosecution’s first witness was Shankar Wadhani who works as a supervisor at Rams. He pointed out that on the day in question, he saw two guys walk into the supermarket. He noted that the short guy had a bag on his back, and the tall one went to isle number 5 pick up some snacks and went to the cashier. The witness said that the shorter of the two persons went to the same isle as well but he found it suspicious because the same short guy was at the supermarket earlier in the morning loitering around in the liquor section but did not buy anything.
He said that after a couple of minutes the tall guy left the supermarket but he did not see the short one so he went and look for him. He indicated that when he reached isle number 3 he heard some bottles knocking but no one was in the isle but he eventually saw him going to the door with a bag in his hand.
Wadhani said he approached the guy and asked him to stop on three occasions, but the guy tried to push him. He noted that the guy was close to the door and was able to sidestep him and went through the door. He indicated that he was able to snatch the bag from him then he saw two guys running in the direction of Courts. He told the Court that he saw the police vehicle in the parking lot and he told the manager what had happened and the manager approached the police who then came into the supermarket. He said that the opened the bag and discovered 4 bottles and the police took the bottles with them along with the bag.
The Prosecution’s second witness was Monique Browne an employee at Rams. She told the Court, that she looked up and saw the defendant putting things into his bag. She said that when he was coming out, she tried to stop him but he did not pay her any mind. Browne pointed out, that when the defendant was about to go through the door, Wadhani got his bag.
The third and final witness for the Prosecution was police officer Moyrah Mills. She indicated, that she was on duty on the day in question when she got call from Constable Harvey. She noted that Harvey told her, that a report was made to him from the manager of Rams that two persons were there and allegedly stole some drinks. She stated, that she saw the defendant and told him about what was alleged and he admitted that he did it. Mills said that the defendant indicated that his friend did not do anything he was just following him.
Her Honor told the defendant, that this was the second time he was appearing before the Court for stealing and she should have been sending him to prison. Her Honor told Dos Santos, that if he comes back a next time she will send him straight to prison so he should try to stay clear of that. He was ordered to pay one thousand dollars in three months or serve six months in prison.