(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- The matter involving a River Path, Nevis resident finally concluded at the District ‘C’ Magistrate Court on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.
Mikelle Swanston first made appearance before Her Honor Magistrate Yasmine Clarke on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 and pleaded guilty to stealing $5000.00 U.S. from businessman, Noel Liburd during the period of January 17-19, 2015 at his property at Farm’s Estate.
On that date Police Prosecutor, Inspector Stephen Hector told the court that Swanston visited the business place of Mr. Liburd like she usually did during the period mentioned above. According to the evidence, Swanston spent the weekend and left on January 19, 2015. The Prosecutor noted that Mr. Liburd secured the money he made from his rental business. On January 19, 2015, he dropped Swanston in Charlestown to catch the boat, and when he returned home he discovered that the funds were missing. He immediately called the police.
Swanston was detained by the police and when the officers searched her hand bag, officers found $1070.00 U.S. The defendant was interviewed by the police and she said she only took up $1000.00 U.S. and she was willing to pay back the money to Liburd.
Her Honor, Magistrate Yasmine Clarke asked the defendant about her actions.
Swanston said that she was in a relationship with Liburd since 2011. She said she did not consider her actions as stealing because she was in a relationship with him and she had been doing all the basic needs like washing and cooking and taking care of him. Swanston said all she ever asked in return was for him to love her and take care of her since she did not have any family here in Nevis. At this time, she began to shed tears. She also began to tell the court of the abuse she has sustained at the hands of Liburd. She stated that she had scars from the abuse. She said she suddenly developed an illness and she was of the opinion that it was because of the abuse from Liburd.
“Let me tell you a secret, crying doesn’t move me and the court is not interested in what happens in your relationship. This is not the time. Just tell me why you stole the money and why I should not send you to prison,” Her Honor told the defendant.
The defendant wiped her tears and began with her explanation. Swanston said that she has a job in St. Kitts and she asked Noel to assist her to buy a bed for her apartment in St. Kitts and he refused. She admitted to the court that she took the $5000.00 U.S. When asked by the Magistrate ‘what she did with the money’, she indicated that she used the money to pay some bills and pay some people she owed.
Magistrate Clarke then sought some guidance from Liburd before her sentencing. He stated that he did not want the defendant to go to prison all he wanted was his money.
According to Liburd this was not the first time, Swanston has stolen large sums of money from him. He also highlighted to the court that she had stolen his laptop and other things.
When asked by Her Honor how she would be able to pay the money when she could not even afford a bed, Mikelle stated that she could do so in three to four months period. She also told the court that she only had a laptop and cell phone for Liburd and they were in St. Kitts.
Her Honor adjourned the matter until Tuesday, February 3, 2015 for sentencing. She however stated that Swanston was to return the items to Liburd and if she failed to do so she would be sent to prison.
On February 3, 2015 Swanston re-appeared before the Magistrate Court with the laptop but Liburd indicated to the court that she destroyed the cell phone.
For the second time Magistrate Clarke asked Mr. Liburd what he would like the court to do. He stated that the defendant kept doing wrong things. He told the court that Swanston had returned to his house again and stole his son’s guitar and stole a bracelet.
After hearing this, Her Honor remanded Swanston to prison for one week.
Swanston re-appeared on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 for sentencing. Swanston told the court that she did a lot of ‘soul searching’ while in prison. She indicated to the court that prison was not a nice place and she did not want to go back.
Her Honor warned her to keep out of Liburd’s house and to stop stealing his stuffs.
She was then fined $1000.00 to be paid in 6 months, or in default she would serve six (6) months imprisonment.