Teenager jailed for seven months for burglary
Renson Shephard (left) with a police officer PC629 Richards outside of Court
From the Courts, News
November 17, 2023
Teenager jailed for seven months for burglary

A teenager has been imprisoned for disguising himself as an employee, trespassing unto a property, and stealing items worth hundreds of dollars.

Renson Shephard, 19 appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday before Magistrate John Ballah where he pleaded guilty to the charges of burglary.

Shephard was charged that between October 20 and 21, 2023 at Campden Park, he entered the Campden Park Port Administrative building as a trespasser and stole EC$250 in banknotes and coins; one black water proof phone, the property of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG); EC$150 in coins, the property of SVG Port Authority Sports Club; one pair of brown Sketchers boots, three bottles of Barefoot wines, two bottles of Vitafusion supplements, one bottle of Natures Bounty supplements, three female body sprays, two body lotions, one safety helmet, one reflector vest, one black executive bag and one black back pack, total value EC$675, the property of Alain Weekes of Pembroke.

Shephard was also charged that between October 22 and 25 2023 at Campden Park, he entered the same building as a trespasser and stole a quantity of seasoned chicken, the property of St Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority Sports Club; six bottles of Coco Cola, two bottles of Tus-T water, five packs of popsicles, one pack of crackers, two cups of peanut butter and three bottles of Minute Maid juice, total value EC$123.50, the property of Suzette Mason of Barrouallie.

The facts, which were read by Prosecutor Corlene Samuel stated that on October 21, 2023 at around 10:22 pm, Constable Williams, who is attached to the port authority was on duty patrolling the facility when he saw a man standing next to Weekes’s Office, on the corridor of the top floor of the administrative building.

Williams saw that the man was wearing an orange helmet, and found it suspicious that someone was on the compound at that time. As a result, Williams decided to investigate the matter, but the man left. When Williams made checks around Weekes’s office, he found that it had been burglarised. The matter was reported to the Questelles Police Station and Corporal Forde entertained the report.

Forde visited the scene with Weekes and obtained a CCTV footage where he recognized Shephard who he knows very well. Forde noticed that Shephard was wearing a reflector vest and a helmet.

Shephard was then identified the next morning during a patrol on the compound, where he was seen in similar attire. Shephard had the stolen items with him, and was taken into custody. He showed the police how he entered the compound, which was through a hole in a fence, and was later interviewed in the presence of a Justice of Peace, then charged for the offence.

Shephard has antecedents. However, he was treated as a first time offender. Before sentencing, his lawyer Grant Connell told the court that Shephard resides in a shed outside of the port, but left in search of food. Connell said Shephard had a history of mental illness and had dropped out of primary school at the age of 12 and did not obtain any formal education after that.

Connell noted that most of the items have been returned. “It wasn’t his intention to really hide,” Connell continued, added that Shephard even greeted the security guard on his way out the building by telling her, “Good night,” and the security guard doing the same for him in return.

“Maybe the port should employ him to teach them how to secure the port,” Connell commented.

Connell said that there was an excess of EC$11,000 in plain sight inside of the office but none of the money was touched.

During his mitigation, Connell addressed the “unresponsive behaviour” which Shephard displayed in court when he was first arraigned, and said that there was no food at the Questelles Police Station for him to eat while he was in custody, and it caused him to feel unwell. He also found it “savage” that Shephard was taken to the Mental Health Rehabilitative Centre without shoes and still came back to court barefooted. He then asked the court to place Shephard on a bond.

However, Ballah denied Connell’s request. He began sentencing with a starting point of one year and four months which is 20 per cent of seven years which is the maximum sentence for burglary. Ballah deducted six months from the sentence and offered a one-third discount for early guilty plea and concluded with a custodial sentence of seven months.

For the second offence, Ballah began sentencing with a starting point of one year, then deducted nine months from the sentencing, concluding with a custodial sentence of three months. Sentences are to run concurrently to each other, and Shephard was ordered to receive counselling while in prison.