A 44-year-old man fell back into old habits which he had given up for more than a decade and found himself facing a court this week for stealing from his employer.
Kish Prince apparently knew his victim, Adolphus Adams of Campden Park very well. Adams had employed him as a labourer at his place in Lowmans Bay.
Adams has a storeroom in his business place where he keeps equipment and others items. These included four speakers and three solar lights, which together were worth $6290.39.
According to the official version of events, on April 27, at around 9:30 a.m, Adams, Prince and another man were present at the business place. The defendant was working.
The employer opened the storeroom for them to have access to the tools they needed to use for their work.
However, he then left the compound and forgot to lock the room.
The employer returned at about midday and continued to do his work.
He forgot all about the storeroom until the following day when he checked and discovered that the speakers and solar lights were missing.
Adams searched the compound and spoke with the two employees who were there, including the defendant but they told him they didn’t know where the items were.
The matter was reported to the Questelles police and investigations were carried out. Acting on information, the police travelled to Lowmans Bay where they located the defendant and informed him of the offence that they were investigating.
Prince admitted to the police that he had taken the items and handed them over.
However, the court learned on Monday, October 10, that the wires for the lights were cut, and therefore it was only the speakers that could be returned.
Prince’s last conviction was in 2009, but his previous record contains similar offences.
He told Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett that he didn’t intend to sell the items, but was using them.
“Yeah but the point about it is that if you want it,” the magistrate pointed out, “you ask him(Adams) for them or you buy them. You don’t steal them, you don’t tief them. You know what I mean. You understand what I’m saying here? So there’s no excuse for you doing what was done by you.”
The items that cannot be restored to Adams amounted to $4393.35.
The magistrate queried, “I don’t understand you. If you’re working with a firm for 10 years, why would you want to go and steal from somebody and you have means of supporting yourself and means to get what you want? Explain that to me. You have a wuk.”
The defendant seemed to say that he doesn’t know.
Burnett noted that although Prince will be treated as having no previous convictions, “I have information that you have not changed at all.”
“Things that you were doing years ago, you’re still doing in 2022. You understand what I’m saying to you?” the magistrate asked him.
In terms of money to repay the victim, the defendant said, “I ain have no money your honour”, and no bank account or credit union account.
However, he asked for time to pay.
Prince explained that every fortnight he is paid $500/$600. He said he lives by himself in a wooden house.
Before sentencing the defendant, Burnett said “I don’t understand you Mr Prince. You should not have been before me because you’re a working man, and to steal from your employer, that’s a terrible thing to do.”
“The man who is providing bread for you, you will steal from him? Think about that for a few minutes. He is the man who is providing money for you to spend,” Burnett emphasised.
“Because I have to treat you as though this is your first conviction I am not minded to send you to prison for it. I am minded to order you to pay compensation to the virtual complainant in the sum of $4393.35,” Burnett ruled.
This payment should be completed by March 10, 2023, or Prince will serve four months in prison.
The defendant said he would try his best.
“You have to go beyond trying your best because if you don’t pay it by that time then the best that you try may not be good enough. The point I’m making is that you must pay it by that date. If not you’re going to prison,” the magistrate told him.
The judicial officer also placed the Lowmans Bay resident on a bond for one year in the sum of $2000. If Prince breaches the bond by returning to court in one year, and he cannot pay the amount ordered then he will be penalized with a term of imprisonment of six months.
The magistrate told Prince that next year he will have to keep out of trouble.