Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett made the admission at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday before sentencing Randy Marshall of Sion Hill, for the theft of $31.60.
Marshall, who pleaded guilty, had brought to Court the money to compensate the virtual complainant, Muriel Cox of Queen’s Drive.
But the Senior Magistrate expressed the view that though the Court orders compensation from time to time for victims of theft, he did not think it was right for persons to steal from others, and walk away from the Court with just having to pay back the money.
“I dislike the idea of stealing and the Court tells you to pay back the money. That is the wrong message to send to the public at large. … I have done it (order compensation), but it is not the right message. He (defendant) is there, and he is armed with the amount of money he stole from her,” the Senior Magistrate reflected.
“So you go into somebody’s place, steal their money, and when you come to Court, the Court ask you to pay back the money. That is not right,” he reiterated emphatically.
But Burnett acknowledged that there was another side to the issue. He pointed out that the virtual complainant may want compensation, for the loss suffered.
But, he reasoned, if the defendant was sent to prison he may not be in a position to pay the compensation.
Burnett ordered that Marshall compensate the woman in the sum of $31.56 forthwith or one month in prison.
Marshall was also bonded for one year in the sum of $1,500 with an alternative of six months in prison.