Not meant for teen ‘to give up job’
There is something wrong with the criminal justice system when an offender feels he has to quit his job to complete community service.
“The law is not meant to be oppressive. The law is to be fair and to rehabilitate,” said Magistrate Kristie Cuffysargeant.
She made the comments in response to a mother, who said her son gave up his job so he could complete his 80 hours community service by September 26.
The boy, Brandon Ackeem Devonish, 17, of 1st Avenue, Vauxhall, Christ Church; a 15-year-old relative and Xenico O’neal Moore, 17, of 2nd Avenue, Vauxhall, were back in the District “A” Magistrates’ Court yesterday where Magistrate Cuffy-sargeant was checking on whether they were complying with the conditions of their bail.
It was when as she was questioning Devonish, that his mother revealed her son had quit his job to ensure that his hours were finished by his next court date.
But the magistrate stressed this never should have happened. She explained people had been given additional time to complete their hours after they had returned to court and had explained that because of work or family commitment, they had been unable to finish in time.
“Any time a person is given community service, it is to give back to society, not to give up your job. That is not the idea,” the magistrate said.
“It is to assist an offender in keeping his record clean. Anytime an offender has to give up a job to do community service, something is wrong with the criminal justice system or somewhere else,” the magistrate noted.
“That should never be made to happen. That is the wrong concept.”
Noting that it had pained her heart, the magistrate advised the youngster to complete his hours “as soon as possible and then find employment again”.
Devonish and his co-accused remain on $5 000 bail and return to court on February 12.
The three are jointly charged with assaulting James Waldron, on January 31, this year, with intent to rob him; robbing visitor Mary Wiseman of her bag containing a bottle of perfume and US$60 on January 26, and robbing Kirsty Wiseman of one purse, a $2 265 cell phone and US$300 on the same date.