A burglar whose actions were fuelled by a gambling addiction was released from prison after being there for over five years.
Joel Baptiste was placed on probation for a year and two months by Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius when he reappeared in Supreme Court No. 5 earlier this week for sentencing.
As part of conditions set out by the court, he must reside with his father and must also enrol in a drug rehabilitation programme and any other programme recommended by the Probation Department.
Baptiste had previously pleaded guilty to entering the home of Guy Pascoe and Kerry Pascoe on May 6, 2014 as a trespasser and stealing a Rolex watch, a pair of earrings, one ring, a bracelet, silver chain, purse, 400 pounds sterling, four cell phones, two bottles of champagne, a bottle of brandy and an iPad worth $88 695.
The complainants, English nationals, had a home in St Peter that they secured on the day in question and went to Speightstown. When they returned Guy realized his phone and charger were missing. A further check revealed that other items had also been taken.
Police were called in and investigations led to Baptiste who said he sold the iPhones for $50 and the iPad for $20. He also sold the brandy. He said he had gained entry to the house through a door at the back. The other items were recovered in a bag at his home.
In sentencing, Justice Cornelius noted that Baptiste had two previous convictions for burglary and had served two years in prison. She said a probation report had indicated that Baptiste had a gambling addiction that was explained by the ridiculous prices at which he sold high-valued items to get money.
And while Justice Cornelius said they were several aggravating factors such as the value of the stolen items, and the fact that his actions included some degree of planning, she said the mitigating factors were in his favor. The judge said no violence was used, there was no damage to the property, the occupants were not at home and he had cooperated with police.
Justice Cornelius disclosed that a starting point of six years was reasonable.
She said the five years and four months that Baptiste had spent on remand at HMP Dodds would be credited as time served.
Baptiste was unrepresented while Senior Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney appeared on behalf of the Crown.