Three young men were today given an opportunity to turn their lives around when a High Court judge opted not to imprison them on a robbery charge.
Instead, Justice Carlisle Greaves ordered them to serve probation and enrol in counselling programmes.
He imposed the sentences on Shalom Shem Batson, 26, of Laynes Road, Britton’s Hill, St Michael; Renaco Fabico Richard Bovell, 21, of the same address and 23-year-old Carl Erwyn Sealy of Frere Pilgrim, Christ Church, when they returned to the No. 3 Supreme Court for sentencing.
The young men had pleaded guilty to robbing Jamar Poulett of $427 on September 6, 2016.
In revealing the facts, Senior State Counsel Neville Watson outlined that the three young men robbed Poulett, who was a conductor at the time, while he was working on a public service vehicle.
Watson suggested that Sealy, who had no previous convictions, be placed on a bond to keep the peace, while Bovell and Batson, who both had previous convictions, be made to pay fines of $500 each.
It was a position that was agreed to by attorneys-at-law Desmond Sands who represented Sealy, Martie Garnes who appeared on behalf of Batson and Sade Harris who represented Bovell.
However, Justice Greaves told the court it was one of the few times he would go against the suggestions of the prosecutor and defense counsel.
He said he did not believe he “would be doing his duty” by taking their money.
“I do struggle with the suggestion that compensation or a fine should be imposed, particularly in the case of Batson and Bovell, who have stolen before and have serious behavioural problems,” Justice Greaves said.
“I am convinced having read your [probation] reports that you are going to be back here, you are going to commit further offences of this kind.”
Justice Greaves said he considered a proper starting point to be two years.
However, he said the aggravating factors which included the fact that an offensive weapon was used, that the incident occurred on a PSV and they acted together as a group, increased that sentence by six months.
Justice Greaves said they would be given a one third discount for their early guilty plea, bringing the sentence down to 20 months and an additional discount of 18 months for the six-year delay in the matter reduced it to two months.
And while he made it clear to the three men that he had no intention to imprison them, he said he believed the fines made no sense.
Justice Greaves told Sealy no conviction would be recorded against him, but he would have to serve a 12-month probationary period and would have to adhere to conditions of counselling as directed by the probation officer.
He then told both Batson and Bovell their convictions would be recorded. He also placed them on a three-year probationary and also ordered them to undergo counselling as directed.
“If you mess up I may lock you up,” Justice Greaves warned the young men.