A 21-year-old who had already racked up a significant criminal record despite his youth, has now been sentenced to one year and eight months in prison as a result of a midnight sneak-in burglary into a doctor’s residence.
Kenroy Bibby of New Montrose was holding out hope that he could pay back 67-year-old Bharati Datta, her husband and son, for, on September 26, at New Montrose, trespassing into their home and stealing $1400 in cash and a bunch of keys worth $100.
But Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne at the Serious Offences Court(SOC) on Monday, October 4, noted, “My concern would be – and I will tell you, that you have before me five similar offences, very recent in nature, and a number of them have mandated that you pay compensation.”
Bibby was ordered by a court on a previous occasion to pay $240 by August 12, failing which he would be incarcerated for two months.
Further, he has obligations to pay $717 and $2500 for other offences but the time within which he must pay these sums had not yet passed.
“I see also that you were put on a new bond in September, and that bond is in the value of $1500. Now if you breach that bond which you were put on – and now by virtue of your guilty plea here that is the issue – you will go to prison for six months if you cannot come up with the $1500,” the magistrate advised him.
Bibby wanted some time to pay the sum associated with the bond, but was told that that isn’t how the bond works. The young man informed the court that his brother was outside to help him.
The matter was stood down for a while for checks to be made, and it was confirmed that the $240 he had been ordered to pay by August 12 was paid. He also said that his brother had gone to the bank.
While it seemed that the defendant would cross those legal hurdles resulting from his past actions, the court still had to consider the most recent transgression separately.
According to the facts prepared by arresting officer PC 109 Ballah, the house in New Montrose that Bibby burglarised was owned and occupied by the Datta’s. The property is fully fenced, walled, the windows are secured by burglar bars, and it is monitored by CCTV.
Bharati, referred to as the complainant for the purposes of the court, had been travelling. She returned to the country on Friday, September 24, but was in quarantine. However, the complainant’s husband and son were at home during the weekend.
At around 11:50 p.m on Saturday, September 25, the husband and son secured the house. At 12:30 a.m the following morning, the complainant heard noises in the yard, and the two went outside to the back of the house to check. They left through a door by the kitchen, which was left unlocked briefly.
The father and son returned to the house, and locked up once more. Another hour passed, and at 1:30a.m, the father heard a noise which came from inside the house. This prompted him to immediately go into the hallway, and in doing so, he saw a male burglar running down the steps. He chose not to pursue the unknown figure.
When he went downstairs, the complainant’s husband met the kitchen door open. He searched and realised that $300 was missing from his wallet.
He told his wife about the incident, and the complainant made her own checks when she returned home. The sum of $1100 in cash was missing from her handbag, along with a bunch of keys.
However, some nights following the midnight incident the keys were thrown back over the wall.
When PC Ballah obtained the CCTV footage, he recognised the burglar as Bibby.
Bibby was supposed to be on a court-ordered nightly curfew when he committed this crime.
Prosecutor Corporal Shamrack Pierre pointed this out, and noted that at that time of the night, anything could have gone wrong.
The prosecutor also commented on the prevalence of burglaries in the country.
Pierre said that the offence is serious, and that the sentence must reflect this. He asked the court to send a strong message for these types of offences.
After standing down the matter for a short time, the magistrate recalled Bibby to the dock.
She began by stating that she calculated the sentence based on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sentencing guidelines for burglary offences. In doing so the seriousness and consequences of the offence are placed in categories.
“This is a home invasion and no doubt as the prosecution mentioned, that our homes are our castles and once there is any breach being great or small of that perimeter, there would be some form of emotional distress and unease caused to the victim,” Browne said.
The family was at home, and the invasion would have caused disruption to their enjoyment and relaxation, she listed. The time it occurred was also noted.
The offence was placed in the medium category for consequences.
In terms of the seriousness, the court also fixed it in the medium category.
“…There is without doubt a degree of planning that was involved and the victims were particularly vulnerable, this was an older person with a son present,” the magistrate said.
Consequently, the guidelines direct that the range the sentencing officer could start within is 25 to 55% of the maximum which the magistracy can impose.
The court chose to start at the lower end of 25%, with a sentence of one year and seven months in prison.
The aggravating and mitigating factors for offence and offender are then considered.
In this case, the curfew breach, the prevalence of burglaries, and the removal of the keys thereby possibly seeking access in the future were factors that were aggravating of the crime. On the other hand, the keys were returned later.
Based on these, the court moved upwards by six months imprisonment.
For Bibby, his youth is a strong factor to consider, but his previous convictions do not tell a rehabilitative story.
Browne felt that “the aggravating factor of the very recent convictions of offences of this nature” were serious enough to merit a three-month addition.
While Bibby would have been sentenced to two years and four months, because he pled guilty at the earliest opportunity, one third of the sentence, or eight months, was deducted.
He will spend one year and eight months in prison for the burglary.
“The court further noted that on the 9th of September 2021, you were placed on a bond for a year. The court therefore activates that bond and you are to pay $1500 forthwith. If you do not do so you will be imprisoned for six months,” to run consecutively to the sentence handed down on Monday.