Unemployed and in need of money to support his daughter who has a learning disability, Lionel DaCosta Barnes tried to get money using a forged cheque, he told a court Monday.
Barnes gave this explanation to Justice Randall Worrell when he reappeared in the No.2 Supreme Court.
The Browne’s Gap, Rockley resident had earlier pleaded guilty to trying to obtain $3,698.75 by writing a forged cheque to First Caribbean International Bank on November 9, 2016, and attempting to launder the money.
“I would like to say that at the time of my act I was unemployed at the moment,” Barnes said. “I do have a daughter that is a bit dyslexic and has a learning disorder so school fees were a bit high for me and I just did something stupid and I apologize to the court and I would just like some leniency.”
Attorney-at-law Ryan Moseley told the court his client had shown genuine remorse.
He said Barnes had two previous convictions dating back to 1994 and 1996 for criminal damage and receiving stolen goods and a pre-sentencing report had indicated he had a low risk of reoffending.
Moseley also pointed to the fact that his client did not receive any money. He said it was also a relatively small sum of money that his client had tried to obtain.
“I don’t believe that a starting period of any more than one year would be warranted in Mr Barnes’ case,” Moseley told the judge. “As these matters go this is as innocuous as it comes. We understand it is still a serious offence, it is an offence for which the maximum penalty is life in prison, something I think may need to be reviewed in any event as that sentence is completely not proportionate for the type of offence that it is.”
Moseley said his client was also in a position to pay a fine as he was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
He suggested a fine of between $5,000 to $10,000 was appropriate.
In her sentencing submission, Senior Crown Counsel Olivia Davis suggested a starting sentence of five years in prison for both counts.
“The now-convicted man Barnes attempted to change a cheque in the sum of $3,698.75 at the First Caribbean International Bank,” said the prosecutor. “To effect this crime he attempted to use a forged Barbados national identification card bearing his photograph and bearing a fictitious name Roger Best.”
Davis said Barnes should be given a one-third discount for his guilty plea.
But Justice Worrell said the court was also looking at possibly imposing a fine considering the fact that the convicted man was in a position to pay.
He adjourned the case until December 7.