An unemployed man of no fixed place of abode admitted stealing items from two establishments on the same day.
His reason for doing so?
“I have a drug problem,” Oneil Kenmore Fletcher explained to Magistrate Douglas Frederick in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
After pleading guilty to stealing two bottles of Omega vitamins and three bottles of Ginseng from Jenn’s Health & Beauty Supplies and later two bottles of rum from Sookram Fruit and Vegetable retail on October 31, the 42-year-old begged the court to help him. The total value of the items was $123. 65.
“I know from watching you work that you is a man that would try and help people,” Fletcher told the magistrate yesterday.
“You just give me a month the last time I went before you . . . I have a drug problem and it getting overbearing. I getting sick of myself,” the repeat offender said.
Fletcher then asked for a chance to be remanded to the Psychiatric Hospital so he could be assessed.
“I want to know if you would grant me that opportunity this morning Sir. I am begging you this morning to help me. It get so bad, I ain’t even got on no shoes this morning.”
Magistrate Frederick then referred to Fletcher’s numerous convictions and reminded him that he has “had the whole gamut of options” that a magistrate can use.
“You had probation, bonds, fines, CRDs and imprisonment. But if you are asking for help I will not stand in your way.”
However, the magistrate warned Fletcher that since he already been to Verdun House, if they were unwilling to accept him as a candidate for rehabilitation, he would be imprisoned and receive his drug rehabilitation there.
Sergeant Janice Ifill, who prosecuted the matter, said that Fletcher entered Jenn’s and took up the bottles of Ginseng from a counter close to the cashier before turning to a nearby shelf from where he removed some vitamins and headed for the exit.
A security officer saw what unfolded but as he made his way toward Fletcher, the accused man scampered from the building, ran toward Jubilee Gardens, on to Chapel Street and through City Centre, before police, who were called, and civilian John Lynch, caught up with him at Kensington New Road.
Over at Sookrams’ outlet, Fletcher took up the bottles of rum from a shelf and put them into a bag he was carrying. He was seen by a store assistant and the matter reported to police
Fletcher returns to court on November 23 for a report and for a representative from Verdun House to inform the court of their decision.