Terrorising homeless people is nothing more than cowardly and heartless acts which will not be tolerated in Barbados, Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch told two St Michael teenagers who admitted to stoning and chasing homeless drug addicts – ‘prickles’ – for “fun” on Broad Street.
Jahem Magline Loftis Campbell, 16, of 8th Avenue, New Orleans and 17-year-old Reschad Domon Decorney Carrington, of 3rd Avenue, New Orleans, admitted to throwing stones on June 29 which were likely to cause injury to a passenger where the public is allowed to assemble and pass.
Chief Magistrate Birch declared: “You are cowards! Picking on those who cannot help themselves. You have no heart! When the two of you should be looking to help people you are looking to make their lives harder. We will not tolerate that in Barbados! We are supposed to pull together.”
The court heard that police responded to reports that a group of people were stoning and chasing vagrants along The City’s main thoroughfare. As police canvassed the area, officers were given a general description of the group.
They began patrolling and encountered a group matching the description along Wharf Road. On seeing the police, the culprits scampered in several directions but officers apprehended and searched Campbell and Carrington.
Police found several stones on the defendants, Prosecutor Station Sergeant Peter Barrow told the court.
“We were just following the paro man,” Campbell told police when asked to account for the rocks. Carrington admitted: “ I was in town with the boys and we just decide to run the ‘prickles’.”
But in the dock of the District ‘C’ Magistrates’ Court today, the duo could hardly be heard when asked to explain their actions, prompting the Chief Magistrate to order them to speak up.
Carrington said they were on the bridge and “thought it was fun to run the prickles”. Campbell’s response was inaudible.
But the two boys admitted that the homeless men had done nothing to them to deserve such treatment.
As they shuffled quietly in the dock, the Chief Magistrate told the first-time offenders: “They are homeless. In some cases some of them have mental illness. They do not have the privilege that you have and you are not making it better for them.
“You’ll aren’t going to help them. The two of you are such cowards that when police challenge you, you ran away.
“When you were running those people and throwing rocks at them it was all right, but the minute the Law comes running after you, suddenly it is not so cool.”
Carrington, the magistrate said, should be walking around searching for a job as he is unemployed while Campbell, a student, should be in his books “instead of loitering around town making a nuisance of yourselves”.
Birch said: “Before you all volunteer to help these people, you all think it is fun to terrorise them and you know the difference between you and them? That people still care enough about you to put a roof over your heads, food in your stomachs and clothes on your backs.
“You all are one bit of drug addiction, one bit of mental illness, one bit of hard luck away from being with them.
“We are raising a nation of cowards and bullies.”
Turning his attention to the boys’ fathers, Chief Magistrate Birch said: “This is my future? This is what I have to look forward to? This?
“This is how you all raised them to take advantage of others who can’t fight back?”
“No,” the fathers replied.
Carrington’s father told the court he left him home to attend his sister’s graduation. Campbell’s father said: “I was talking to him, he not listening.”
The boys then named the other culprits who were with them on the day.
The Chief Magistrate sentenced Carrington to 240 hours of community service, telling him: “You are going to be assigned somewhere that you can help these people”. A pre-sentencing report has been ordered on Campbell.
In the meantime, the two are on a daily 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and banned from Bridgetown and all Crop Over events.
The Chief Magistrate said: “I can not afford to have people throwing missiles at innocent people during Crop Over. You hear anything going on in Bridgetown – not for you. Anything to do with Crop Over – not for you. If you cannot behave like civilised people we will keep you away from civilised people.”
The duo was granted $750 bail each to reappear before the Chief Magistrate on October 4, when Campbell will know his fate and Carrington is expected to have completed his community service.