Phone thief gets five months hard labour for robbing 13-y-o
With the start of the Yuletide season just more than three months away, Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque indicated on Thursday that she would be sending a strong warning to criminals planning to rob Jamaicans of their cellular devices.
"Every single day when I sit here, I hear of people being robbed of their cell phones. I hear of students being assaulted for their phones, I hear of people being injured and sadly, some people losing their lives over a cell phone. So when I hear these things happening in my jurisdiction, Kingston and St Andrew, a message must be sent. There needs to be that 'shock-message' sent to let people know that the stealing of phones is something that will be condemned by the courts," Cole-Montaque said.
"Worse, we are approaching that time of year when nuff pretty phone and pretty things deh out a road, so I am not going to give you the temptation to grab," the judge continued.
Her comments come ahead of passing sentence on Xavier Blackwood, 24, who, in May, pleaded guilty to robbing a 13-year-old schoolboy of his Samsung Galaxy A02 cellphone. His accomplice stole $100 from the boy.
"Yuh wicked nuh, Sir, yuh wouldn't even pick pon somebody fi yuh size. Yuh wouldn't even look pon a big smaddy fi say, 'Try rob dem'. Not to say it is never all right to rob anybody, but just looking at that age and experience dynamic, you are a big man and a 13-year-old child you tek set on. That child might be very deeply traumatised. That parent might now have to say 'well you know what, I can't leave my pickney on the road to travel so me affi go charter taxi.' There are lots of consequences for these offences," she chided.
In a mitigation plea, Blackwood's lawyer asked that the judge show leniency.
"He has ambitions of learning woodwork and this young man actually has a child on the way. His girlfriend is eight months pregnant and, therefore, she needs the financial assistance," the lawyer told the court, asking that Blackwood be given a suspended sentence.
The judge, however, was not swayed.
"The sentence that must be passed must be a sentence that condemns this and it must be a sentence where the next person who feel like them want rob one likkle 'schoolaz' of them phone, think twice," the senior judge said.
Blackwood, who has been in custody since May 29, was sentenced to five months imprisonment at hard labour.