By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- The Eastern Caribbean Court came to a close yesterday Tuesday, April 15, 2014 with what was termed as a ‘harsh’ sentence for a youngster who had earlier pleaded guilty for burglary.
Her Lordship, Justice Lorraine Williams showed no mercy on twenty year old Akeem Foster of Conaree, St. Kitts.
It is said that in August 2012 Foster along with another accomplice broke into the home of Richard English of Craddock Road while he was asleep and robbed him of a small sum of money.
Crown Counsel O’Neil Simpson told the court that English was awoken by the breeze from his fan blowing on him that was put on by the two intruders. As English attempted to get out of bed to turn off the fan, he was approached by the two bandits.
During the break-in, Simpson told the court that the bandits demanded money from English and in the process they beat him using their firearm and a machete they found in his house.
While attempting to flee the scene Foster was stopped by patrolling officers. When officers removed his mask he was identified as Akeem Foster. The other assailant was never charged leaving Foster to face the charges alone.
Mr. English, speaking from the witness box told the court that since the night in question he is scared of being in his own home. According to him, he is still trying to recover from it. “When someone come into your house and beat you with a machete and put a gun to your head, that is not nice”, English said. He continued, ‘these types of guys who coming into person’s house robbing them and terrorizing them, I would like to see something done to them’.
Foster was called to the witness stand to address English statement. He remained silent for a few minutes as if he was lost for words. Her Lordship looked at him and stated, ‘don’t you even want to say sorry for going into his house. You heard what he said; he is shaken up until now’.
Here, Foster told the court that he would like to apologize to English for breaking into his home. He said he was forced to break into the victim’s home and he regretted his actions.
Crown Counsel Simpson stated in his closing arguments that the victim was not attacked in a public place but he was attacked in the sanctuary and privacy of his home. Simpson said that the privacy of someone’s home must be safeguarded and the Prosecution would protect it and guard it jealously. Simpson also stated that the defendant was no stranger to breaking the law and this law breaking has graduated into severity.
Before sentencing, Foster asked the court to take into consideration that he pleaded guilty and that he did not waste the court’s time. He also asked the court to consider that he is currently serving time at Her Majesty’s Prison and that both matters happened at the same time.
In an effort to seek a light sentence, Foster further stated that he was not a bad person but he had made some bad choices in life. He stated that he has a girlfriend who just gave birth to his child and he would like to be there to play a positive role in his child’s life. He further stated that he would like to see an end to the ‘generation curses’ that are currently plaguing the young people.
Foster begged for a second chance, he indicated that he was never given a second chance. He continued, ‘I am making progress. I’m still young I can turn my life around and do better’. The youngster highlighted that since being incarcerated he have learn a trade and he has been going to anger management classes in order to be a better person.
It was now time for Her Lordship to address the court.
“In life we all have choices to make; some choose the wrong way while other chooses the right way. You were 19 when you started”, she told Foster.
She told him that she was trying to find a mitigating factor excluding those he mentioned earlier but the crime was so atrocious. “You attacked him (English), you walked with a weapon and you beat him. I will not be lenient on you. I have to protect the society from people like you and; talking about ‘generation curse’, break it”, Her Lordship told the accused.
Looking directly at the accused, she told him that she was going to put him away for a long time to rehabilitate himself. “You could have chosen a better life but instead you chose a life of crime. It is unacceptable what you did to Mr. English and I will punish you”.
She indeed punished him when she handed down a 15 year sentence. Everyone inside the court house opened their eyes wide in amazement, including the defendant who was shocked with the sentence. Tears immediately started to flow down his face.
However, his 15 year sentence was discounted after time on remand and his guilty plea was taken into consideration. He will spend 10 years in prison for this crime.
Foster will serve the remainder of his three year sentence on a different matter, and after doing so, he will start the sentence handed down by Her Lordship, Justice Lorraine Williams.
The maximum sentence for the crime for which he was charged is 20 years.