APPROXIMATELY FOUR and a half years of jail time has been handed down to a Mesopotamia/ Diamond Village man who was nabbed for a series of attempted burglaries.
Multiple victims shuffled into the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court(KMC) on September 13 where the matter was being concluded. The dwelling houses targeted were inhabited by: civil servant of 21 years Joselle John, teacher Garvey Best, Country Manager of FLOW Wayne Hull, and businessman Basil Bracken.
Forty-one-year-old mason Christopher Dasant was handed in to the police by a lawyer, after the police issued a wanted poster of him.
The first two hits that Dasant executed was on July 30 when he targeted homes belonging to John of Harmony Hall, and Best of Ribishi.
In John’s case, Dasant was charged with attempted burglary. The civil servant had left her home secured at 8:12a.m, and did not return until 6p.m. When she arrived at home, she saw a wooden door on the southern side of the building open and a piece of 2×2 board in the porch that she did not leave there. The deadbolt for the door was observed to be on the ground.
Later, when the defendant was taken into custody, he would take the police to the property, and describe what he had done.
Also on July 30, Best left his home in Ribishi at about 12:15p.m, and did not return until 8:20p.m. When he did, he met a glass pane of one of his windows broken, and his dwelling house broken into. A bottle of red wine valued at $45, four white shirts valued at $80, two pants worth $150, two cotton shirts priced at $90EC, one flash drive purchased for $35, and $100 in cash were found to be missing, and therefore $500 of his property was gone.
In police custody the defendant volunteered a detailed statement outlining how he had committed the act; but none of the items was recovered.
Dasant then struck at Prospect on August 24, at the home of Wayne Hull. At this point the police were investigating a series of burglaries committed during the day in the Harmony Hall/Prospect area. At 8:45a.m, Hull’s wife secured the home, left and did not return until 1:45p.m. A ladder belonging to them that is usually kept in a storeroom was discovered outside. This house has CCTV installed and on reviewing the footage the police easily identified Dasant who is known to them. After he was handed in by a lawyer, the defendant took them to his home, where a number of the personal items that had been stolen from Hull’s home, were recovered; that amounted to $750. These included a Samsung tablet, Vicks day and night cold and flu tablets, a charger, a power pack, body mist sprays, and a necklace. However, $60 was not recovered.
Dasant is said to have given a detailed statement for this break-in as well.
Lastly, between September 2 and 3, at Belmont, the 41-year-old struck again. This time at the business place of Basil Bracken. The liquor and provision shop “The lime light” was locked up at around 10p.m, while Bracken left to go to his girlfriend’s home. It wasn’t until 2a.m that he awoke to find a number of phone calls from his lessor to say that his business place had been broken into and that the police were looking for him. When he arrived, Bracken discovered a metal and wooden door and a burglar bar gate, together valued at $620, were damaged. However, everything inside the shop was accounted for. Cameras on the property picked up the defendant.
“I notice way way back you were burglarising homes in the valley,” Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett told the mason, as he contemplated the mindset of the individual before him for sentencing.
“…As far back as 1998, you were burglarising people’s homes. What is the matter with you? Explain to me the thought process behind these things…”
Dasant explained that he doesn’t know what he’s doing to himself, that he had been working in Owia “good, good, good”, and had gotten thrown off. He spoke of a nervous breakdown.
“That’s recently? The nervous breakdown that you are saying that you have…” the magistrate asked, which the defendant confirmed.
“So explain to me what was going on with you why you did this in 2019. What was that about?” Burnett questioned, given that the defendant had two convictions for burglary in 2019.
Dasant explained that he had had another nervous breakdown then.
“These are hardworking individuals who secure their homes,” Burnett told him, who looked as if they may be an age to still be paying a mortgage.
“…This is what you want to do for hardworking individuals?” the judicial officer asked, to which the defendant said, “No please sir.”
He was reminded that this is what he did.
Dasant asked for forgiveness, requesting “I need some help sir.”
He had been to prison before, and despite his cries for mercy, the court informed him that this is where he would be heading.
“Putting you on a bond is impossible, not going to happen in this real world and this real court; not happening,” the magistrate said, “Make up your mind to go to prison because that is where you are going, and your sentences are going to be consecutive sentences. The only concurrent sentence you’re going to get is for the two of them that happened on the same day.”
After applying the sentencing guidelines, the court considered that the items were of significant value to the owners, and that there had been damage to property in some cases.
“The court also had to look at the high level of inconvenience suffered by complainants in this matter. Also the emotional distress caused to the parties,” and that there was house invasion.
A starting point of 20% of the maximum was adopted before the aggravating and mitigating factors were added.
“Burglary remains a serious offence in St Vincent and the Grenadines. In some of the cases, the items were not recovered,” the magistrate noted.
Further, a piece of board found on one of the properties “was used in the commission of the offence and it also could have been used on anyone had anyone approached the defendant,” Burnett said.
There was also a level of planning.
The defendant himself has a history of offences of dishonesty, but on the other hand had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity so that a one third discount on his crimes was applied.
Ultimately, the court found that the aggravating factors far, far outweighed the mitigating ones.
Dasant was handed a sentence of 12 months for the attempt burglary on John’s property, and 14 months for the burglary of Hull’s home. For the burglary of the teacher’s dwelling house where nothing was recovered, a two year, six month sentence was decided upon.
In the case of Bracken, for the burglary with the intent to commit theft, Dasant will spend 12 months incarcerated, and six months for damage to property. These penalties will run at the same time as one another.
Further, because two of the offences occurred on July 30, these will also run concurrently.
However, the others will be consecutive. Therefore there will be a 12 month sentence, a 14 month sentence, and a two year and six month sentence running consecutively.