September 14, 2010
Magistrates crack down on animal theft

Magistrates throughout the state are now able to hand out stiffer penalties to thieves of agriculture produce and livestock under the new Praedial Larceny Act.{{more}}

The Praedial Larceny Act makes provisions for persons found guilty to pay fines amounting to $10,000 or face two years imprisonment. The law also allows for them to be fined and incarcerated at the same time.

“I will really like to see the judiciary in the corner of the act, providing to persons close, if not the maximum penalties so that the perpetrators can understand how serious this crime is,” said Reuben Robertson, Chief Agricultural Officer, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday, September 10.

Robertson said leading up to the introduction of the Act, consultations were held with farmers who complained that the penalties handed out to thieves were too soft. He said the new Act, which comes with stiffer penalties, is the authority’s response to their pleas.

Superintendent Artis Davis, Divisional Officer for the Western Division, which stretches from Rillan Hill to De Volet, said since Commissioner of Police Keith Miller gave the mandate to lead an assault on the theft of agriculture produce and livestock, 10 persons have been arrested and charged.

Giving specific details of the arrests, Davis said persons were arrested for stealing sheep, goats, and fruits, etc.

Among the persons arrested and charged were: Raphael O’Neal, Sheldon Samuel, Jimmy Mickey, George McDonald and Lamont Wilson.

Davis disclosed that on February 11, 23-year-old O’Neal stole a quantity of Golden Apples, valued $100, from Milton Frederick’s property. He said even though O’Neal pleaded guilty, upon hearing his explanation, the magistrate dismissed the matter.

O’Neal was also charged with stealing a quantity of avocadoes, valued $500, from Grenville Parsons of Peniston. That matter is still before the court.

Davis added that Samuel, a 28-year-man of Vermont, reportedly stole a white ewe goat, valued $200, from Fulson Stapleton. This matter was settled at the court and dismissed.

Mickey, a 25-year-old man of Vermont, was arrested and charged with stealing a black and white ewe goat, valued $600, from Dennis Hadaway of Vermont. Mickey pleaded guilty and was sentenced on July 7 to six months at Her Majesty’s Prison.

Davis said McDonald, a 43-year-old man of Layou, stole a brown and white ram sheep, valued $350, from police officer Bradley Primus. He pleaded guilty on September 8 and was fined $300 to be paid in two months or face one month in prison.

On the other hand, Wilson, a 45-year-old man of Vermont, was arrested and charged with stealing two brown ewe sheep, valued $550, from Alban Moses also of Vermont. This took place between August 29-30. Wilson pleaded guilty and was sentenced in jail for six months.

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate those citizens who have provided us with relevant information leading to the arrest and charge of these persons and to urge them to continue to support the police and the rural constables in all of the police districts,” said Davis.