Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche has again stressed the need for farmers to be protected, in light of the constant loss of their livestock and agricultural produce, as a result of praedial larceny.
Delplesche was making recommendations for sentencing on Tuesday in the case of Owia resident Kirt Nanton, who was charged with the theft of three ewe sheep, total value being $950.
Nanton pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months in prison.
Delplesche, who has been passionate over the years in his position on praedial larceny, told the Court, “Praedial larceny in this country is out of control, and we have to put a stop to it. We have to protect our farmers.
Farmers are working too hard. Three (sheep) one time. Custodial sentence I am recommending. Farmers must be protected.”
The facts revealed that around 5 p.m. last Sunday, the virtual complainant, Grenville Jewitt, checked on his land at Owia and left everything in order.
Around 5:30 a.m. on Monday, he returned to check on his land, and discovered that the animals were missing.
He made checks around the village, but did not find them. He then reported the matter to the police.
Investigations were carried out during which the animals were seen in the back of Nanton’s vehicle.
Nanton told the Court he was sorry for his action.
But Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne told him that the Court attached a high level of seriousness to the offence because of the key role he played. She stressed the harm Nanton intended to cause the complainant.
“This is what he owns. They (sheep) have a great value other than the money attached to them,” Browne told him.
In mitigation, she noted that the animals were restored, and although Nanton had previous convictions, none of them were of a similar nature. She also noted that Nanton’s early guilty plea would earn him a one-third reduction in sentence.
After weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, the Magistrate concluded with the seven months prison sentence.
“Had he been charged under the Praedial Larceny Act, the penalty would have been much stiffer,” the Prosecutor commented.
“I really wish they would utilize the Act more,” the Magistrate said.
“I wish so too,” the Prosecutor replied.
Police have continued to charge persons who commit offences of this nature, under the Criminal Code, despite the existence of a Praedial Larceny Act which carries stiffer penalties.(The Vin)