Two of three men from South Rivers, accused of the theft of two goats were found guilty when they appeared in the Serious Offences court before Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne last Thursday, December 8.
Zion Ashton, Joelanie James and Nicholan King all re -appeared for trial before the Chief Magistrate on charges of theft.
The men were jointly charged that on December 3, and 4, they stole one white ewe goat valued at $300.00, and one brown ewe goat valued at $300.00, a total value of $600.00, the property of Jandina Collins of Colonaire.
When the men first appeared in court to answer the charge, James pleaded guilty while the other two defendants pleaded not guilty.
They returned to the court on December 12, for trial and sentencing and the virtual complainant testified, as well as Sergeant 191, Glendon David; Justice of Peace, Joel Woodley; and the arresting officer, PC 642 Maxuell Abraham.
King testified on his own behalf.
The complainant told the court that on the morning that she discovered the goats missing from her yard, she made checks around the community for them but was unsuccessful. She later realized that the ropes used to tie the goats had been cut.
She made a report to the Colonaire Police Station.
Sergeant 191 Glendon David told the court that on December 4, he and a team were on patrol duties in the vicinity of Roberts’ shop when he noticed a blue rental vehicle and realized that the occupants were acting suspiciously when they saw the police vehicle.
He and other members of his team went to the vehicle, identified themselves as police officers and told the occupants about their suspicions.
The occupants, Zion Ashton and Joelanie James consented for a search to be conducted. The police officer said that during that search, a quantity of marijuana was found in the vehicle, and also what appeared to be animal hair and animal excrement in the trunk of the vehicle.
The men were arrested for the drugs and James, who was driving the vehicle, told the police that a man had loaned him the vehicle.
The officer said that around 9:00 p.m the same night, Ashton asked to speak to him in relation to the animal hair and excrement they had seen in the vehicle. He was cautioned and he told the officer that he will take them to Diamonds where the animals are.
The officers, along with Ashton, went to the area and a search was conducted in a plantain field, however the animals were not found. Sergeant David noticed two animals tied to a gate, and Ashton identified them as the stolen goats.
He then took the officers to the home of the virtual complainant, and she identified the animals as hers at the Colonaire Police Station.
Police Constable, 642 Maxuell Abraham told the court that he was on duty when the complainant arrived to make a report about the theft of two goats. He entertained the report and recorded a statement. Later that day, he visited the place where the goats had been tied in the presence of the complainant. He noticed where the goats had been tied and that the ropes had been cut.
He said still later in the day, Sergeant David arrived at the Colonaire police station, and on arrival the two missing goats were brought and the complainant identified the goats as hers; they were handed back to her.
The following day, he continued investigations and the defendants were interviewed and they gave statements.
King told the court that he was recently released from prison on bail and he met James the same day and asked him for a ride. He said James gave him a ride back home, after that he didn’t see him again.
He told the court ‘’I understand that the police is telling Joelanie to call my name because of the ride that he offered me…’’
James was given the opportunity to question King and he asked: ‘’ When you say the officers them force me to call your name, nobody ain force me to call your name.’’
Replying to James, King said ‘’well I said that based on way you told me…”
“In prison, that is what you told me in prison and you also said they carry you CID and they was beating you and forcing you to call my name.’’
“How me go tell you officers beat me in CID when is me and two officers go round dey and none of the officers ever lash me,’’ James retorted.
James said that he, King and the other defendant stole the goats, however, King kept on denying that he was involved in the theft.
The Chief Magistrate commended Sergeant David and the officers at the Calliaqua Police Station, noting that they are some of the most trained police officers when it comes to detective work.
She also commended their keen observations in this case.
She said, “well done Sergeant David, if all CID officers operated with such efficiency and promptness and had such a sharp eye, we would have been better placed in a number of aspects…’’.
The defendants were found guilty of the charge of theft.
As mitigating factors, the Chief Magistrate took into consideration that Ashton was the only defendant who pled guilty; he was therefore granted a 1/3 discount on his sentence. At 22, he is also the youngest of the trio and he has a young child, showed extreme remorse and he cooperated well with the police. As a result, she imposed a one year suspended sentence.
If Ashton offends during this period he will go to prison for one month.
She also gave him a warning and encouraged him to follow the right path. He told her that she will not see him back in the court.
Sentencing of the two defendants who had pled not guilty, was adjourned to December 20.
The Chief Magistrate told the men that people should place themselves in the position of those who own things, noting that they too would feel violated if someone comes into their space and takes their belongings.
‘’What you do not want for yourself do not do to others,’’ she told them.