TWO BROTHERS WHO attempted to break into a woman’s apartment, supposedly because her ex-boyfriend asked them to, have been imprisoned for one year and two months.
The attempted break-in occurred on September 10 at Rockies.The female who lives in the apartment left for work at 3:35 p.m, securing both entrance doors with deadbolts and locks, while her windows were secured with locks and burglar bars.
At 10:07 p.m she received a phone call from a neighbour, who is her friend and looks out for her. This neighbour told her that two men tried to break into her apartment.
She left work, got home at about 10:27 p.m, and discovered that the door frame to one of the entrance doors had been dug out and the tongue of the deadbolt was exposed.
The neighbour called the police, and a video of the burglars running from the scene was given to the officers.
Gideon Quow,36 and 27 year old Matthew McFee were subsequently taken into custody and interviewed. They admitted to the offence, and were charged.
The brothers related their intentions to the court, much of it being inaudible to persons in the seating area of the courtroom.They said the apartment owner’s ex-boyfriend wanted items from the home after the breakup.
However, when asked if they knew they were doing something wrong, they said that they knew.
The elder brother, Quow, was also in court for a charge of theft committed earlier the same day as the attempted burglary.
He is alleged to have stolen a Government-issued tablet from an individual who had given him a ride in their vehicle, and his reasoning was that he had been intoxicated.
“So y’all weren’t so drunk that time to know you were doing something wrong,” the magistrate questioned, “…so you sober headed, go in a vehicle, go up there, dig out door to get things. So you not so drunk at all.”
They asked for leniency. The younger brother, McFee was already on a bond as he had a previous criminal conviction.
This will therefore activate because of his conviction for attempted burglary, and it meant that if he didn’t pay $1500 immediately, he would be going to prison for three months (even before the sentence for the attempted burglary).
Browne also told McFee that the previous magistrate who placed him on this bond had been lenient, because the default prison sentence was three months.
“And you have previous convictions of a similar nature already before the court and even of a more serious nature, of wounding,” Browne pointed out.
“So when you are busy doing these things do you think of your victims and the leniency and mercy they wish to have?” she asked, “You do. And you still wound them, and you still assault them, and you still steal from them?”
McFee said that he didn’t steal anything from the woman.
“This time. But you have convictions for burglary,” the magistrate pointed out.
McFee reiterated that he didn’t steal anything.
“You haven’t stolen from her so my question is: you want mercy, how often have you exercised mercy?” Browne asked.
There was no answer. “That’s the point. If we live how we want to be treated there would be no issue in St Vincent and the Grenadines,”the Chief Magistrate said.
“Because we would do onto others as we want done onto us. We don’t want anybody come and digging out our door knob, we will not do it. We don’t want anybody stealing from us, we wouldn’t do it.”
She then allowed Prosecutor, Station Sergeant Renrick Cato to make submissions.
“There is a reason why the powers that be saw it fitting to attach to the offence of burglary or attempt, 14 years. There is a reason. And that was done some years ago. Your honour, I believe that it’s time for it [to] be upgraded,” Cato indicated.
He submitted that there should be a custodial sentence for the brothers.
“You should be able to feel free to leave your home, go to your work and return and meet your home in order,” he said.
“And the explanation given by the defendant that some ex-boyfriend of the complainant sent him or sent them…” he noted.
A defendant interrupted, saying that the ex-boyfriend took them to get the items.
“I don’t know which part of that is common sense,” the prosecutor said, “Even if it is true, I don’t know which part of that is common sense.”
“Here comes an ex-boyfriend, sending two strangers at a home of his ex-girlfriend for stuff in the house that he wants,” the prosecutor summarized, confessing that he didn’t believe it.
However, one of the brothers noted that the ex-boyfriend is a friend.
The magistrate told them that the court “views this type of offence as extremely serious.”
“These offences take a toll on a person’s psyche, emotionally. It is trying to sleep in the said apartment after. I have known persons who cannot live in their homes, cannot live in their apartments, have to seek counselling,” Browne told the defendants.
“Nothing may have been taken but you have disrupted their mental stability. And to compound it, you have a criminal record, both of you.”
The victim was present in the courtroom and she also wanted to say something. She revealed that she is very traumatized and she hadn’t slept properly since the incident.
During sentencing, the magistrate began at 15% of the maximum penalty (which is seven years at the magisterial level).
There were no mitigating factors but the aggravating factors took the sentence up to one year and eight months.
After a one third discount was given for their guilty plea, this left the court with a sentence of one year and two months in prison for each offender. McFee’s bond was also activated.