Man before the court twice in one week, stacks up 14 months of prison time
Javid Clarke
From the Courts
February 25, 2022

Man before the court twice in one week, stacks up 14 months of prison time

After being caught on camera stealing from a fruit cart, a 42-year-old repeat offender was given a chance at not going to prison but he squandered it in less than 48 hours. 

  Fruit vendor, Stephen ‘Bobby’ Charles of Roseau, who plies his trade in Kingstown, reported losing six watermelons, one crate of ripe mangoes, 50 pounds of green sweet pepper, 16 pounds of farine, a quantity of red apples and a quantity of peanuts between February 15 and 16. 

 According to the charge laid against defendant, Javid Clarke the produce comes up to a total value of $1,210. 

When the accusation was read to him at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC), Clarke informed the magistrate that he was guilty “with an explanation”. He said he had stolen only two watermelons, and had met the cart already loosened. 

Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett read the charge to him again carefully, asking once more if he was guilty or not, and Clarke admitted that he was guilty. 

The court heard that Charles secures his cart in front of the Courts building, covering it with tarpaulin and tying it with strongman rope. On February 15 he left it in its usual spot. 

The following morning, at 4:30, a police officer was on beat and patrol duty when he spotted Clarke moving with a box in his hands. Becoming suspicious of the figure’s behaviour the officer shouted out to him and questioned the contents of the box. In response Clarke dropped the box and ran, and was able to evade the clutches of law enforcement after the officer gave chase. However, the officer retrieved the box and took this with him to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) along with the information about his observations. 

Later that day, the vendor found his secured stall deprived of its fruit and made a report to the police. 

Investigations were carried out and Clarke admitted to taking items from the stall. 

He was taken before the Court along with his criminal record. 

The defendant continued to contest the amount of melons on the charge and asked how many watermelons were in the box. He told the Court that there were two. He also said that the cart had already been broken into. 

Prosecutor, Corporal Corlene Samuel noted that she thinks that the camera footage should be acquired, adding that persons leave their carts in front of those building because they are aware that there are cameras there. 

Clarke was remanded overnight and returned the following day. 

When the footage was shown and a male was seen tampering with the cart, the magistrate asked the defendant who that was and he responded forthrightly “Me”. 

In terms of what he was doing, he explained, “Tek out a crate…go with it.”

Asked what was in the crate, Clarke responded, “Apple and ting.”

“Any melon in that one?” the magistrate asked him.

“No. Melon dey in the cart,” Clarke said. 

The footage also showed him returning to the cart and contending with something heavy, which turned out to be the watermelons. 

The magistrate noticed and mentioned to the prosecutor that, going by the footage, it looked like two watermelons were taken.

“Yeah three been in the ting, I leave one pon the ground, tek two,” Clarke verified. 

The prosecutor asked if that was the extent of the footage, rereading the charge with all the items that were said to have been taken. 
As Samuel was rereading Clarke repeated “Sweet pepper?” incredulously.

The defendant maintained that he had swiped only the crate and the watermelon. 

When asked by the magistrate once again what was in the crate, Clarke listed “Nuts, apple, and farine. That is all. No pepper been there. If pepper been there me ain notice.”

The prosecutor commented that before,he had said apples and now he is adding nuts and farine. 

The magistrate asked the defendant what he did with the produce, and he said he left them somewhere.

Clarke also said “Me been hungry, hungry, that why I tek them.”

The magistrate told him that there are places where he could go and get food. 

Looking at the defendant’s record, he said: “When these guys start at this young age, they maintain that throughout their lives you know?”

He noted that this was the case for the defendant before and it is the case for Clarke. In Clarke’s case he stole from Layne’s Hardware as a juvenile.

The defendant said his parents abandoned him and because he has no one that is why he commits crimes.

“Yes but hear what, even if I do not send you to prison today you will go to prison soon again,” Burnett predicted. 

 Clarke said he wouldn’t go again, that if cameras are around town he cannot do anything but abide and obey. 

He also described the conditions of the prison as being very bad.

It was also confirmed that he is a cocaine user. 

In the end the magistrate settled on a 12 month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, meaning if Clarke appeared before him again within 12 months a 12 month prison sentence would activate in addition to whatever new sentence is handed down.

Although the defendant thanked God for this mercy, less than 48 hours after receiving this chance he was again before the Court on another theft charge and was sent to prison for two months in addition, the earlier 12 month sentence was activated.