Two St Thomas women who robbed an elderly couple in their home while armed with a piece of wood and a knife have pleaded for leniency in sentencing and even offered to pay thousands of dollars in compensation to the complainants.
While attorney-at-law Samuel Legay urged the High Court judge to be as lenient as possible in sentencing his client, Tiffany Cortia Arthur, the convicted burglar’s co-accused Carol Ann Veronica Roett pleaded for the same consideration.
Arthur, 34, of Content Land and Roett, 41, of Dunscombe, are currently on remand awaiting their fate on a December 28, 2010, aggravated burglary charge.
They had pleaded guilty at a previous sitting in the No. 5 Supreme Court to entering the house of Ian Pickup and stealing a camera, wallet and a handheld video game belonging to him as well as three necklaces, a lighter and two rings belonging to his wife Donna Marie Henderickson. At the time the burglars were armed with a piece of wood and a knife.
In making sentencing submissions before Madam Justice Pamela Beckles recently Legay disclosed that his client was a “vulnerable” young lady at the time. He said a statement to police, indicated that her mother had passed and she had been burdened with a funeral expense bill and she also had a young child to take care of.
“Not knowing at the time . . . how to deal with this mountainous bill and dealing with her child, she became desperate,” Legay revealed.
“I believe that in dealing with issues of death it affects persons differently, and Arthur was no different and she sought, by any means, to get this bill paid,” the defence attorney added.
He said her guilty plea and her cooperation with police were in her favor.
“Her intention [was] to get this matter over and done with because on reflection, a great mistake had been made. And so as a result of that she became very remorseful, she wanted to apologise to the virtual complainants.
“With that background, I want to appeal to the court to be as lenient as possible towards Arthur because I do not see the name Tiffany Arthur synonymous with criminal activities,” Legay told the High Court judge.
He further submitted that if it was the position of the court that a custodial sentence should be imposed, “And I am not asking for that, at least, the very least of the sentence would be my humble submission.”
Legay put forward a starting point 18 months to two years in prison.
“Given the passage time, things have changed. My client has been consistent. She has not gotten herself involved in anything else and therefore I believe she needs to be given that opportunity to remain in that light,” he added.
The defence attorney said: “From then up until now the accused has no previous convictions. She has kept herself clean. The accused is not a criminal; this which she did is out of character, but out of bad company back in 2010 she has found herself before this court. Therefore my submission is that the court is very lenient towards her.
“I don’t believe Arthur is a criminal,” he said adding that Arthur was willing to pay the complainants $15, 000 in compensation but needed time to pay the amount.
Roett, who represented herself, also urged the court to show her leniency saying that she had not been in trouble with the law for over a decade and had a young child. She too submitted that she was willing to pay compensation in the sum of $15,000 if given the time to do so.
However, Senior Crown Counsel Olivia Davis told the judge that a starting point for the sentencing of the convicted women should be 16 years.
She pointed to the aggravating factors saying that the offence was planned and took place at night while the property stolen was both high in value and sentimental. The prosecutor also reminded the court that substantial force was used during the commission of the offence, which resulted in significant injury to the victim Ian Pickup, and that a weapon was also involved.
“This offence has had a negative mental effect on the [elderly] couple. When everything is considered the mitigating factors of Arthur will weigh heavier and result in a lower sentence than the sentence of Roett but the Crown submits that the starting point should be 16 years and the appropriate deductions be made,” Davis stated.
The two women will reappear before Justice Beckles on November 21 for sentencing.