Though Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett could not come to grips with what could have caused minibus driver Kentish Jack to burn up the belongings of his 14-year-old brother, the Magistrate understands real life situations.
This was reflected in his sentencing of the 27-year-old Redemption Sharpes man at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. He was unpresented.
After adhering to the principles of sentencing, taking the circumstances of the case into account, as well as his own understanding of the situation, Burnett opted not to send Jack to prison.
Jack was instead bonded for one year in the sum of $1,500, or three months in prison.
He was also ordered to compensate the 14-year-old in the sum of $750 to be paid by April 30, or go to prison for two months.
On March 2, Jack pleaded guilty to unlawfully destroying by fire, his 14-year-old brother’s clothing, athletics trophy and medals, altogether valuing $1,090.
The facts were presented the following day, but Jack was remanded for sentencing.
The Court had heard that the 14-year-old and other siblings were living in the same house with Jack, the eldest, after their mother had migrated to Canada. She had purchased a television for the household, but Jack took it to his bedroom.
On February 29 sometime in the afternoon, the boy went to Jack’s bedroom to watch television and fell asleep on the bed.
Jack was annoyed on finding him there, woke him up and proceeded to behave in an aggressive manner.
The boy left the room and headed towards the public road, but Jack pulled him back and slapped him.
The lad responded by throwing a stone at his brother, striking him.
As a result, Jack took the boy’s clothing, trophy and medals outside and burned them.
On Jack’s return to Court on Tuesday, the Senior Magistrate asked, “How was your time on remand, Mr. Jack?”
The defendant did not reply, but when the Magistrate repeated the question, he said, “Not nice”, with a seeming different demeanour to when he appeared in Court on March 2 and 3, in relation to the matter.
“I was aware, and I am aware because I am a human being. Not because I am a Magistrate, I understand life as well. I understand that you were performing the role of mother and father. I also understand the mind of a 14-year-old in 2020”, Burnett told him.
The Magistrate pointed out that the parents should have been the ones taking care of the family, but in their absence, the burden fell on Jack as he was the eldest.
He however added that even if the 14-year-old went astray, he could not understand why the situation reached to the point where Jack had to burn up the youngster’s belongings.
“When you first appeared before me, you showed no remorse. You are a different man today”, Burnett told him, and expressed the view that Jack may have used the time spent on remand to reflect on what he did.
“I want you to go back home and reunite with your brother. I also want you to go back home and take care of your brothers”, Burnett advised.
And as he handed down the penalty, the Magistrate urged, “When you go back home today, in my opinion, take the television and put it outside to be used by everybody. If you want one for your room, buy one”. (The Vin)
photo credit :Searchlight