Haitian national Luc Eloi was slapped with a 64-month custodial sentence after he was found guilty of being part of a ring that smuggled 21 immigrants into the territory last year.
He was charged with smuggling of migrants, possession of proceeds of criminal conduct, and illegal entry.
For his role in the smuggling operation, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards imposed a 44-month sentence on Eloi when he appeared before her on Thursday.
He was given a 12-month sentence for possession of proceeds of criminal conduct and an additional eight months for the illegal entry charge.
His sentence will begin from the first day he was remanded at Her Majesty’s Prison. His sentences will run concurrently (side by side).
The $1,400 that was found on him when he arrived on Tortola and that was found to be the proceeds of crime, was forfeited to the territory.
In handing down the sentences, Senior Magistrate Richards said the court took into consideration that he had no previous convictions in the territory. She said she also considered other mitigating factors such as his early guilty plea to the illegal entry charge and him asking the court to temper justice with mercy.
On the other hand, the seriousness and prevalence of the offences were described as factors that aggravated his crime and things that she also factored into the sentencing.
Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
Last month, the senior magistrate said she was convinced ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that Eloi was working with boat captain Carwill Potter.
Potter pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 30-month sentence for his role in the illegal operation.
She also said his account of the ‘harrowing’ experience on the night in question was not believable.
“I find it incredible that he (Eloi) was just an innocent person being smuggled. I reject his case on a whole … I could not believe his account of what happened,” she said at the time.
Eloi was not represented.
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