BVI News

2 years for looting is an injustice | Legislator takes aim at judge who handed down sentence

Fraser

While expressing concern over the recent two-year sentence handed down to Shamoii Dagou for looting a television set after Hurricane Irma, senior legislator and Third District Representative Julian Fraser has taken aim at High Court Judge Ann-Marie Smith. 

Justice Smith is the judge who handed down the sentence on Dagou — a former government employee attached to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF). 

Fraser, who is the third legislator to publicly address the issue in recent times, said: “I have seen on social media, and I have seen stories about this particular judge before.”

Fraser did not specify the nature of “stories” he has heard about the judge but immediately followed up his statement with an assertion that the BVI “is not a dumping ground that anybody could come and dump on” without impunity.

And while making it clear that he does not support looting and that he is merely “advocating for is justice”, Fraser then called on the Andrew Fahie-led administration to “put a halt to all these things that are in place in the territory”. 

“We cannot continue to live like all is honkey dory and everybody is happy,” the senior legislator said.

Imprison one, imprison all

Fraser pointed to other looters who were not imprisoned and said offenders who commit the same type of offence should be penalised equally.

“I don’t believe he (Dagou) is a common criminal and I think many people in the community feel the same way. I think something has to be done if you are gonna incarcerate people for looting, incarcerate all. If you are not going to incarcerate any, then don’t incarcerate one. That young man who is in prison for this act, as heinous as it was, he needs justice,” Fraser said.

“With all the looting that took place … was that the only television that was taken? And only one person? I haven’t heard of anyone else being incarcerated; at least, I haven’t heard any outrage,” he added.

Fourth District Representative Mark Vanterpool and Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines have both expressed concern over the matter as well.

Dagou’s matter

Dagou, a resident of Belle Vue, was sentenced by Justice Ann-Marie Smith to a total 26 months at Her Majesty’s Prison and ordered to pay the value of the television by January 31, 2020. He will serve an additional six months in prison if he fails to pay.

In handing down her sentence, Justice Smith said the offence was aggravated by the fact that it happened immediately after the onslaught of the 2017 natural disasters. 

The court had also pointed to the fact that the offender worked as a messenger for the RVIPF at the time of the offence.

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37 Comments

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  1. hmm says:

    For real! Consider the st.thomas youth who recently got ONE, 1, year for smuggling over 200 thousand dollars in proceeds of criminal activities.

    This guy is sitting in jail for 2 years over a TV. No man.

    Like 11
    Dislike 5
    • Islandman says:

      if it was someone from another country there would have never be a problem. But justice is home in the BVI it is a problem. And why should this be heard in parliament? Isn’t there nothing better to talk about.

      Like 8
      Dislike 15
      • downisland man says:

        i do not agree what these legislatures are doing here, i think it is a dangerous path they are walking, it is obvious they are undermining the judicial system in the bvi, after all, you guys put the laws on the book, now you want to tell a judge how to dispense justice, come on guys, stay in your lane, you are totally out of order, if it was a Guyanese, Filipino, Jamaican etc, who got this sentence, would we hear you guys singing, or are u saying that mercy should be considered for bvislanders only, this guy committed a crime, you all said that the looters caused more damage than the hurricane itself and how there was zero tolerance and so forth, i guess in all you mind in was just non bvislanders who was looting.

        Like 3
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  2. I will say it says:

    The judge is a BIAS DOWN ISLAND B***h. YEAH, I SAID IT.

    Like 18
    Dislike 17
    • Its not the judge says:

      The laws recently changed to increase the prison sentences for looting. It is not the judge in this case. It is the same legislators that changed the laws. This case was only highlighted because the looter was a Bvislander. No one had any issues when expatriate looters faced the same sentence. But I guess they thought only expats were looting after the hurricane (rolling eyes).

      Like 15
      Dislike 7
      • Truth Sayer says:

        @Its not the judge, your argument of BVIslander versus expatriates is not fair. Fraser has merit in his argument because it is known that many persons supposedly of upstanding offices were caught looting and nothing happened to them.

        Like 5
        Dislike 1
      • VILander says:

        show the proof of the expats who got similar sentence for the same crime.

        Like 4
        Dislike 1
    • Correction says:

      She’s from “Up Island” not down island; you know, one of those islands West of the Virgin Islands…

  3. Please says:

    Frazer, there are some businesses that were destroyed because of looting. The injustice in the sentence is that it was not across the board others should have gotten the same thing or deported.

    There were people who were threatened where store owners could only stand up and watch fearing for their lives.

    You all politicians to concern about the vote stand for what is right. Even if he had a harsh sentence because he was local and others got a slap on the wrist because they were not thats, not the point. Looting is a very serious and can be deadly.

    Like 32
    Dislike 12
    • Come on says:

      There is so much nosense in your comment I can’t be bothered to address it all. This young man has been handed an unfair sentence and it needs to be addressed. I’m glad that Hon. Fraser is seeing to it that this happens.

      Speaking about things that are irrelevant to this case and using it as reasons why he deserves the sentence is not proper resoning.

      Like 7
      Dislike 11
    • agree with Fraser says:

      I honestly agree with Fraser. Here aint no dumping ground. The darm Judge is a t***f herself. check out Belieze news. Life is so unfair. Daguo need not be in there. ANNE MARIE SMITH need go back Jamiaca

      Like 4
      Dislike 6
  4. da 3rd says:

    One thing for sure FRASER CAN REPRESENT

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  5. She has dirt says:

    She need to go home that women is bad news

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  6. Rolling my eyes says:

    These legislators who make the laws seem not to understand the very laws that they pass. There is no offense called “looting” as far as my knowledge goes. The looting that Hon. Fraser seems to be speaking about is more so burglary. The law sets out what burglary is and the penalty for burglary which are set by people like Hon. Fraser. A judge does not decide what to charge a defendant with. That decision is up to the police and the DPP’s office. Once found guilty based on the charge, the judge then issues a sentence in accordance with the law.
    Hon. Fraser should change the law then if he doesn’t like the outcome. I’m tired of these politicians who seem to understand very little using emotional stories to win votes and sympathy. If you are truly interested in helping then fix the problem at its root. Blaming a judge for doing her job based on the law that you created isn’t the way to go.

    Like 13
    Dislike 4
  7. i wonder says:

    why no one from the government side not saying anything in Dagou’s favor?????

    Like 11
  8. WOW says:

    Tell me Girl Justice, how much time is your crime worth. Shame, shame, shame. You should have been stripped of your title, instead, you have been given a vacation in paradise.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  9. son of the soil says:

    One native caught looting he gone jail. Several island people caught looting all of them out free. Something gotta be done. We need a Donald Trump style bvislander to rule over this country. Fahie them so are a set of jokers.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  10. brave warrior says:

    It is one thing i like about hon fraser is that he aint fraid tal. we need a lot more like him in the house of assembly who are not afraid to make the tough calls. men and women with strong backbones

    Like 3
    Dislike 4
  11. Quantum says:

    Fraser is correct, the guy should have gotten a stern warning, repay the business and do some community service. Mr Dagou was wrong for what he did but he is NOT a common criminal as Fraser said. He is a decent young man who excelled in sports and made a stupid decision after the storm. He should not have been jailed for it and he needs justice.

    Like 5
    Dislike 5
  12. Ausar says:

    He did the crime, therefore, he should do the time!

    No excuses should be made for any such criminals!

    Hopefully, during his time in prison, he should consider his offenses, REPENT, and make restitution!!!

    Like 12
    Dislike 5
    • @Ausar says:

      You are simply being a J**K A**. No one is condoning what the young man did. If he have to sit in jail for 2 years for stealing a TV, then the rest of the looters including THE PASTOR,should be sitting in jail for 2 years also. Let the man out as time served and make him pay back the value of the TV and call it a day.

      Like 10
      Dislike 4
  13. angeladome says:

    Can his sentence be appealed?

  14. Wha Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander says:

    I agree with Hon. Frazer, Hon. Caines and there’s quite a number of Civilians who feel “justice” was not serve. It was totally unfair and unjust because a number of them, including a so call Pastor was giving “Community Service” and they walk away scot free.
    The young man should not have been given a custodial sentence and he need to be appeal it. There were others who stole more stuff and with higher value than his and are out on the street among us.
    Free the young man and give him the same punishment as the others.
    “Wha Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander”

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  15. Looted says:

    I think the real injustice is that all the looters

    did not get 2 year prison sentences. The

    businesses they looted are still recovering. And

    worse than that, it speaks to the character of the

    people that are now living among us.

    Like 14
  16. Fair says:

    What about the Police Officers that were fired for looting. All they got was a fine and no prison time. I believe that sentence is not fair for Mr. Dagou. I would understand if he gets 6 months (if she insisted using him as a example) or less but 26 months is ridiculous. She is a very unreasonable judge… She is no good. All she does is show herself in court. She needs to go. We need our locals in that seat.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  17. hmmmm says:

    I totally agree with Hon. Fraser if its good for one it should good for all I think personally that the sentence is a bit unfair and stiff for Mr.Dagou but if he’s to serve this then all who was deemed to be doing the same thing should serve the same faith. As for the example that the judge was trying to make I saw her story on belize news and this is very interesting that she of all people trying to make an example of someone because of the position they held, when she should have been an example seeing she a person that passes down judgement on others.

  18. What about DPP's Office??? says:

    I think a crucial distinction is being missed between young Mr. Dagou’s matter and the other looting matters. Mr. Dagou was sentenced in the High Court and the other matters were dealt with at the Magistrate’s Court. Since the maximum sentences in the High Court are automatically higher than in the Magistrate’s Court the question is WHY did the DPP take the matter to the High Court in the first place, when the same DPP’s office dealt with all the other looting matters at the Magistrate’s level. It is just my opinion but I think the DPP’s Office is getting a free pass on this one. What was so egregious about looting a single tv that warranted taking the matter to High Court? That is the question that should be asked and answered, because fairness MUST start at the DPP’s Office, and in my respectful opinion this case really begs the question.

  19. HELP! says:

    The Dagou family need to speak to Judge Janice George

  20. ??? says:

    I think she also gave a man 6 years for murdering his wife and wished him well…..She’s out of control in my opinion…and should be shipped out forthwith.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  21. Stop it! says:

    Who cares if it was just a tv? Y’all need to decide if y’all want ppl to steal OR NOT. He and all the others, chose to loot people’s businesses during a time when they were most vulnerable. He should have thought about how much jail time he might get before he ran away with that TV. Y’all sickening with this now. I agree that we need to go after all the others with the same energy, but don’t say he doesn’t deserve xyz. The shop keepers who lost all they had even after the storm left their belongings in place, did not DESERVE to be robbed. Done wid dis everlasting pity party.

  22. Shark says:

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.The government the previous N.D.P government and The governor.they knew for days what we were facing with hurricane Irma they did not act or put any curfew in place.because of their negligence it costed local businesses to be looted and they did nothing to assist the local business owners.They should have taken full responsibility for the looting that was caused.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Let’s protest….Free Dagou Now!!!!

  24. Observant says:

    Too harsh a sentence hmm…….Did he or the supporters of Dagou consider the troubles that business owners had to endure to open and run a business? Wasn’t it harsh also to break into, steal items and destroy the buildings where the businesses were housed? Also, did he and his supporters consider how these business owners are going to feed their families?

    Two years is too lenient of a sentence. Time to face the hard facts and suffer the consequences for evil deeds. Much ado about nothing.

  25. Good.. says:

    Disgusting opportunistic thief…cowardly stealing in a time of national crisis…throw away the key

  26. 38/45/9mm says:

    Looters should be shot on sight. Stops the problem real fast with a very clear message. ,

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