By Erasmus Williams
Road Town, Tortola, September 10, 2019 – A 27-year-old Kittitian will spend four months at Her Majesty’s Prison for overstaying in the territory for nearly 20 months.
According to BVI News, Kris Mitcham was also slapped with a US$1,000 fine for the same offence of ‘overstaying a landing permit’ between January 6, 2018, to September 4, 2019.
Mitcham was also charged with the offence of ‘giving false information to police’ and was given another fine of $350. He has up to December 9 to pay the fine or in default he would spend 30 days at the adult penitentiary.
The unrepresented fibreglass worker pleaded guilty to both offences when he appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo on Monday.
In handing down her sentence, Magistrate DaBreo said bearing in mind that Mitcham was in the territory since 2015, he knew the process to remain in the British Virgin Islands.
“You are not new to the process. You had more than enough time to get yourself sorted,” she said.
In response to the court, Mitcham said he tried to get an employer to sponsor a work permit for him, but his efforts were futile.
He added, “it was kind of hard for me to deal with it [work permit] as I was helping my girlfriend. So that held me back. But, I was trying to seek sponsors.”
However, Magistrate DaBreo said these types of matters are taken seriously, and as such, both a fine and custodial sentence was warranted.
The court heard that members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force executed a search warrant for an unrelated matter at Mitcham’s residence in Chalwell Estate on Tortola.
The court heard that when he was asked to identify himself, Mitcham said his name was ‘Shannon King’ and he was subsequently arrested and brought to the Road Town-based Police Station for the same unrelated matter.
Sometime later, one of his brothers came to the station asking for him by his given name.
This then prompted a police investigation and the probe unearthed that Mitcham’s work permit had expired since 2018 and he was illegal in the territory.