Magistrate Tamia Richards chided a senior defence attorney, Leroy Jones, for being unprepared for the sentencing hearing of his client, Tambu Frett.
Frett was to be sentenced in relation to smuggling a man into the territory, Illegal Entry and Breach of Curfew. He had pleaded guilty to those offences earlier this month.
During Frett’s last court appearance, his matter was adjourned to today, April 30 after cellphone records indicated that Frett was allegedly involved in a much larger smuggling operation.
But when the matter got underway via a Zoom conference call today, Magistrate Richards had to push the case to Friday at noon to allow Jones to submit an electronic copy of the legal references he used while making arguments on behalf of his client.
The magistrate said it was protocol for any attorney to furnish the court with the documents before the proceedings commence.
“I will send a message of deterrence! Who don’t like it, the court of appeal is open to them. Let them file their application,” the no-nonsense magistrate said while admonishing the defence attorney.
She further said that as a native of the Virgin Islands, she will do her best for the territory and adding: “Who like it, like it. Who don’t, don’t. It doesn’t cost me any sleep.”
Jones was arguing for his client to get a one-third discount on the legally prescribed penalty for the offences for which his client is charged.
The attorney said Frett qualifies for the discount because he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. Jones, however, neglected to submit the case law supporting those arguments.
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