Thief changes plea to guilty to avoid viewing of surveillance video
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March 23, 2018
Thief changes plea to guilty to avoid viewing of surveillance video

A man who decided against allowing the court to see a video of him allegedly committing a burglary, by changing his plea to guilty, was sentenced to four years behind bars on Tuesday.

Moneesh Davis appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate Court on Tuesday, charged that on December 16 last year, he burglarized the Gibson Construction Limited office in Stoney Ground and stole several items, including a video surveillance camera valued at US$299, a measuring tape, valued at EC$30 and cleaning products valued at EC$20.

The court heard from the business’ owner, Mike Gibson, that the building was secured on December 16 and when he returned on December 17, he found that the building had been burglarized and called the police.

On checking the surveillance system, they found the camera inside the building had been removed, but the recording device was intact and showed a man resembling Davis coming up to the camera and taking it from the wall.

However, in court, Gibson said that he was unsure if the man in the video was Davis and during the beginning of the trial, Davis maintained his innocence.

When Gibson employee Roland Cuffy took the stand as a witness, he said that he recognized the man in the video as the defendant.

When accused Davis asked Cuffy if he was sure it was him (Davis) he saw on the camera, Cuffy replied, “Yes, I am sure”.

Senior magistrate Ricky Burnett then called for the surveillance footage to be reviewed, but as police officers began setting up the equipment, Davis told the magistrate that he wanted to change his plea.

“I am guilty, your honour,” said Davis, who when asked if he had anything to say, requested that he pay a fine.

In response, magistrate Burnett asked if he had money on him, to which Davis replied “no”, but said he could get it. He apologized for breaking into the building.

The magistrate asked Davis if he knew he was guilty why did he ask Cuffy if he had seen him in the footage.

“What were you trying to do… if you knew you were guilty, why ask if he saw you?” the magistrate questioned, which brought a mumbled and unintelligible response from the accused.

Before handing down his sentence, magistrate Burnett said he is glad to see a lot of the burglaries in Kingstown are being solved because of video surveillance and that is the way to go.

He told Davis, “When I hear burglary, I see four”, after which he handed down a four-year sentence.

Davis, in a heavy American accent, asked if he had to do four calendar years.