Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin has been urged not to imprison ‘wealthy’ Anguillan visitor Kirk Hughes because Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut is overcrowded and under-staffed.
Hughes, an overseas hotelier, admitted to the court last week that the $45,831 found in a number of local properties he had rented are proceeds of crime. It was not said what sort of criminal activity Hughes was involved in.
While representing the offender in court on Monday, attorney Leroy Jones sought to persuade the court to fine his client and have the near-$50,000 sum forfeited to the territory.
The attorney argued that local government would effectively benefit more if his client was fined rather than imprisoned because, if sent to prison, the territory will be burdened to have the offender housed and fed.
Jones further argued that his client is ‘remorseful’ for the offences.
Magistrate Benjamin is scheduled to sentence Hughes on October 4.
Hughes had pleaded guilty to overstaying, failing to declare monies to Customs, and being in possession of proceeds of criminal conduct.
The funds in question were dispersed among three rental properties on Tortola and inside the offender’s vehicle.
He was also said to be an accomplice in smuggling six Hispanic migrants in the territory between August and September of this year. He, however, was not charged with smuggling.
It is reported that local law enforcers caught up to Hughes because a number of those illegal migrants named him as their contact and “gang leader”. They were all arrested and charged.
The illegal migrants were subsequently fined $1,000 each or spend in default prison sentence of two months.
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