The first businessman ever convicted in a Barbados court for selling counterfeit merchandise has been fined $15,000.
Magistrate Graveney Bannister today imposed the hefty sum on Grenville Ricardo Delpeache, of Passage Road, Passage Gardens, St Michael, even after his attorney Satcha Kissoon painted a picture of a struggling businessman.
“This has far-reaching commercial replications for Barbados as well. It is more than just Delpeache, a man selling on Swan Street,” Bannister explained in handing down his sentence.
However, Kissoon told the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court his client had been going through some financial difficulties and the charges before the court had only made things worse.
“Since this case, his travel visa has been revoked. He owes his landlord $43,000 and $100,000 to the bank . . . . He is in the red,” Kissoon revealed.
The attorney also urged the magistrate to impose one fine for the charges of selling PUMA Fenty by Rihanna Creeper Sneakers and PUMA Fenty slippers, as well as exposing for sale 17 Puma slippers, seven single shoes and 31 backpacks which were counterfeit last May.
“Don’t treat him as an example as there was no malicious intent and I am asking for leniency in sentencing,” Kissoon implored.
However, Bannister said he was not minded to do so.
The magistrate pointed out that the presentencing report showed that Delpeache, who was found guilty of the charges earlier this year, had two businesses and was in the process of opening another. However, Kissoon was quick to point out that those plans had been shelved given his client’s financial situation.
Delpeache was therefore ordered to pay the court $5,000 each on three counts – $3,000 of the amount had to be paid forthwith in order for him to avoid three months in prison. That money was paid.
The businessman now has six months – that’s on or before December 21 – to pay the remaining $12,000 or face six months in prison.
At the request of the prosecutor, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman, the magistrate also made an order for the counterfeit items to be destroyed.
Following the ruling, Mark Hope, the attorney for PUMA in Barbados, told reporters he was satisfied with the outcome of the case.
“We are pleased with the results. We are pleased with the initial decision of the court and we think the sentence is appropriate in the circumstances,” Hope said.
He also suggested that the case had created greater public awareness and a greater level of responsibility among businesspersons, while explaining that other brands were currently on the look out for counterfeits.
“We are actively investigating whether there continues to be a proliferation of counterfeit products on the market and those brands that have come on board we will certainly look to have their needs addressed in the shortest possible timeframe,” he said.
However, there is still the matter of the appeal of Bannister’s verdict in Delpeache’s case which was lodged in the High Court, but Hope disclosed that PUMA’s lawyers had not been served with those appeal documents.