On Wednesday August 5, a 20 year-old South Rivers man, convicted for theft, was sentenced to six months’ probation or must pay $EC1500.00 forthwith or endure six months in jail, if the bond is broken.
Breneul Baptiste, the Court learnt, boasts a criminal record with three similar offenses one of which includes the theft of a goat. Chief Magistrate Racheanne Browne accepted his guilty plea while admonishing, “you’re ridiculous and too young to be racking up such a record.”
Even as Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche declared, “you’re too damn thief!”
Baptiste conducted his own defense.
The virtual complainant, Allson Simons, 42 and also of South Rivers, explained to the Court that on July 31st he went to his, approximately 4 acres of farmlands in the said village. There he cultivates a range of crops including plantains.
He left around 5:30 that evening “and everything was ok.” Upon his return around 8 a.m. on August 2, he noticed 4 bunches of his plantains had gone missing. They were valued at a total of EC$450.
Simons questioned Baptiste, the defendant, who lives next door and he denied having any knowledge of the crime. Acting on information received sometime later that claimed Baptiste in fact harvested and sold his plantains, Simons then filed a report with the police.
Police Constable Robinson carried out an investigation and Baptiste was arrested and charged for the theft. When asked what motivated him to steal from his neighbor, Baptiste told the Court he was getting a dry coconut for his girlfriend to make dough bough and cod fish but got distracted. He also said that he needed the money to buy flour and oil.
The prosecutor lamented the unfairness of the situation while noting that farmers must get to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Baptiste was ordered to pay EC$125 forthwith and another EC$120 at a later date as 2 bunches of the plantains were recovered maybe since they were too young to be sold.