16-year old among cocaine addicts involved in $68,000 burglary
JUVENILE (forefront) is closely followed by Jomo Lyttle while leaving the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
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February 24, 2023

16-year old among cocaine addicts involved in $68,000 burglary

Three cocaine addicts including a juvenile, are now facing the consequences of their sticky fingers having been found guilty of stealing from a store in Kingstown.

They appeared in court this week charged with stealing items to the value of $68,150.00 from Platinum Divas Store.

The three defendants, Kamal Small, 31 of Vermont; Jomo Lyttle, 42 of Redemption Sharpes; and a 16 year old, all admitted to being under the influence of cocaine on February 16, when Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett, presiding in the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, found them guilty of the offence of burglary.

Senior Magistrate, Rickie Burnett

Burnett spent some time last week Thursday and Friday (February 16&17), before he reached appropriate sentences for the three defendants.

The men were found guilty to a charge that on December 26, 2022 at Grenville Street, Kingstown, they entered Platinum Divas Store as trespassers and stole 300 pairs of stainless steel ‘Skemei’ wrist watches valued at $67,500; one blow hair drier valued at $150.00; and a quantity of female accessories valued at $500, a total value of $68,150.00, the property of Mohammad Afaneh of Cane Garden.

The juvenile was also found guilty of damaging a 38 x 33 glass window valued at $1000.00 without lawful excuse, the property of Mohammad Afaneh of Cane Garden, intending to damage such property.

Director of Marion House, Jeannie Ollivierre was summoned to court as the magistrate was seeking assistance for the 16 year old.

Burnett was seeking to find an appropriate sentence that was in line with the OECS Supreme Court guidelines that for offenders like the 16 year old, prison will not be the best place for them.

On Friday, February 17, the youth was sent to Marion House where he is to enrol in the Youth Assistance Programme for one year, or he will spend 12 months in prison.

However, while Burnett’s intention was to not impose a prison term as a first option, SEARCHLIGHT has learnt that the juvenile has escaped the custody of Marion House and is now back on the streets of Kingstown.

Small who has a history of convictions and played a significant role in the offence was sentenced to four years in prison; while the other defendant, Lyttle, was sentenced to 2.8 years.

CCTV footage was presented in court which showed the defendants in the act of the burglary.

Presenting conclusions ahead of sentencing, the Senior magistrate told the court that a substantial amount of the items were not recovered and the prisoner, Small had taken the most trips going back and forth with the stolen items.

The defendants admitted that they use cocaine and that at the time of the burglary they were under the influence of the drug.

The Senior magistrate told the 16 year old that he seemed to have been so heavily under the influence of cocaine that he did not even seem to know what had happened to him.

The youngster told the court that while he was on remand at His Majesty’s Prison, he was usually beaten by his father for using cocaine.

“My big brother doing 20 years because he shoot a man, so if you sentence me, I might go down go meet him, yuh ovaz,” the young man told the court.
He said as well that his mother is “six feet.”

“I am not surprised that you are like that because of the parents that you have,” Burnett commented, adding that he knows the teen’s parents from the courts.

“So based on his socialisation, I am not surprised that he is before me,” Burnett said.

The Senior magistrate said that his decision was not easy; that if he did not put the defendant in an institution he will return to the streets and on cocaine.

He noted that the defendant had previous charges, including theft, and he had threatened the virtual complainant.

Prosecutor, Corlene Samuel said that the young offender is known to the court. She added that while she knows he has his issues due to the absence of his parents, he was given many opportunities by the system.

She said he was at the Liberty Lodge Boys Training Centre on more than one occasion and he walked out. And that he also walked out of a foster home and returned to the street.

She pointed out that he has had many opportunities, “… Liberty Lodge tried over and over and the last time he jumped the fence and left”.

The youngster claimed that he isn’t understood, and he was influenced to use cocaine.

He also told the court that in addition to physical harm from his father with whom he shared a cell and who “give me couple slap and thing”, if he is sent to the Belle Isle Correctional Facility and meets his brother, “my face going mash up…so pressure”.

The prosecutor said while there is a risk, she is suggesting that he be sent to prison for a while “… so that he can dry out and get it out of his system. It is sad, [but] we don’t have any other way to deal with him”.

Apart from returning to using cocaine on the streets, the Senior magistrate said if the young man goes to prison this may hinder his opportunities from living a normal life.

“But if we put him back on the street, he is likely to use cocaine again. It’s a lose-lose situation,” Burnett said.

With respect to the other two defendants, Small who told the court that the crime was not planned, was sentenced to four years behind bars.

The Senior magistrate found that Small’s attempt to conceal and dispose of the items; being under the influence of drugs and the prevalence of theft to be aggravating factors. He found no mitigating factors.

Small also has a history of previous convictions.

Lyttle who was sentenced to 2.8 years told the court that he has “beef” with people at the prison and that there are a lot of “faggots” in there so he asked that he be made to pay for the items he stole.

The Senior magistrate told him that if he does not want to be in prison he should not burglarize nor dispossess others of their property.

Time spent on remand will be deducted from the sentences.