Judge imposes suspended sentence on convict who made a change
With 40 convictions to his name, Damien Debarage Wilkinson has been on a quest to turn his life around.
And Madam Justice Pamela Beckles on Thursday gave the Liverpool Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael man an opportunity to continue on that trajectory when she imposed a three-year suspended sentence for burglary.
That was the remainder of a ten-year starting sentence imposed on Wilkinson for entering the house of Heather Ann Sealy as a trespasser, with another person, and stealing five pairs of earrings, three chains, a pendant, a bracelet and two rings belonging to her, as well as seven pendants, two pairs of earrings, two chains, 14 rings, and a bracelet belonging to Renate Lynn Sealy. The items had an approximate total value of $12 220.
The homeowner had left her residence on March 9, 2009, and when she returned, found the kitchen door opened and the property missing.
Handing down the sentence in the No, 5 Supreme Court, Justice Beckles considered the mitigating and aggravating features of the offence, the 296 days Wilkinson had spent on remand, the 14-year delay in having his matter disposed of, his guilty plea and his participation in the Verdun House rehabilitation programme.
In a progress report requested by the court, it was stated that Wilkinson entered the programme on December 9, 2020, and successfully completed the primary and secondary stages. He is now participating in the continuing care programme.
The judge said the report also stated that Wilkinson continued to be consistent in his efforts, is compliant with all recommendations, attends all sessions, continues to give back to the recovery community, volunteers every week at the Substance Abuse Foundation where he provides peer support, and also assists on the Verdun House farm.
“It notes that you have been actively engaging in the recovery process since your reintegration into society and that you have become an exemplary [alumnus] of Verdun House,” said Justice Beckles, adding that the team was willing to continue to support his recovery efforts.
“Given the circumstances, both those in your favour and those aggravating, you are hereby sentenced to three years imprisonment for the offence of burglary. In light of the glowing report from Verdun House where you continue to be treated and have become a beacon of hope for other troubled young men, I will suspend your sentence for three years. . .” the judge ruled.
“This sentence is conditional upon your remaining in the Verdun House programmes when they decide that your attendance is no longer required, provided this does not exceed the three-year sentence.