Not meant for teen ‘to give up job’

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - The Courts -

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.

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