Describing the situation ‘unfortunate’, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said the absence of a proper facility for mentally unstable offenders is forcing the court to send them to Her Majesty’s Prison.
Magistrate Richards, however, said she recognised that implementing such a facility may not be among the top priorities of the Smith administration, given the current state of affairs in the territory.
Notwithstanding, the senior magistrate said offenders such as David Baronville need to be committed to a facility that can treat the underlying issues that she believes cause him to be a substance abuser and repeat offender.
Baronville was before the court for a burglary that took place on February 28 this year.
“I feel sorry for people like him and others who struggle with mental health … [But], there’s a lot of fishes to fry since Irma and mental health may not be one of the urgent fish,” she said.
“It is [just] unfortunate that government has not provided a place for mental health patients,” she added.
The magistrate, however, advised Baronville’s family to be more aggressive to get him the help he desperately needs.
“You have the power in your hands, speak to your [elected] representatives,” she told them.
In what can be described as an impassioned request on Wednesday, Baronville’s sister and mother advocated for the court to release the offender, especially since he was celebrating a birthday.
Moved as she might have been, Magistrate Richards said she has “no choice at this moment” but to have Barronville placed on remand at the adult penitentiary in Balsam Ghut.
Shortly after, the mother and sister were observed weeping as Baronville was escorted back to the holding cell area of the court.
Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.