A soon-to-be-father from Virgin Gorda has been slapped with fines exceeding $7,000 and is facing several months of imprisonment if he does not pay the sum.
Joel Williams was fined after pleading guilty to a number of offences including escaping lawful custody, possession of 13 grams of cannabis, resisting arrest and assault on police.
He was fined $1,800 for the drug possession offence. The offender was ordered to pay that sum by October 3 or spend four months at Her Majesty’s Prison.
In handing down the sentence on Wednesday, Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo said a non-custodial sentence would suffice considering the offender has no previous convictions.
No allegations were read in open court when Williams appeared for his sentencing hearing for the October 2016 offence.
Williams, in the meantime, was also fined $1,300 each for the offences of resisting arrest and assault on police. In default of not paying, Williams will spend four months at Her Majesty’s Prison.
For the offence of escaping lawful custody, he was fined $3,000. He will serve another default sentence of six months in prison if he does not pay.
The court ordered that those fines be paid by April 30 next year.
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate DaBreo said his early guilty plea was considered as a mitigating factor.
“But, I must warn you, that you are racking up,” she told the young offender while referring to the number of offences.
“I am not doing this for you, I am doing this for your child,” she further told him.
In response, Williams sought to explain why he ended up racking up so many offences. He said on the day in question, someone had torched his scooter so he was frustrated.
“That was the past, and I am looking forward to a brighter future,” he added.
Facts of the matter
The court heard that November 24 last year, members of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were on mobile patrol on Virgin Gorda.
Williams, along with a pillion rider, was seen riding a scooter without wearing crash helmets.
Police subsequently stopped the rider and informed him that riding without a helmet is a traffic offence. Police then conducted a search of William’s person.
Nothing illegal was found on him. However, when they proceeded to search the scooter, the court heard Williams started behaving suspiciously. Because of this behaviour, the officers informed him that he was under arrest.
While in the process of arresting him, a struggle ensued and Williams managed to mount his scooter.
He rode off while one officer was still holding on to him. He was subsequently apprehended and charged.
When interviewed, Williams reportedly told police that he fled because he knew that he had cannabis under his seat.
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