Calling for an assessment of the local judicial system which she suggested was flawed, Sixth District Representative Alvera Maduro-Caines has raised concerns about the two-year sentence handed down to Shamoii Dagou for looting a television set after Hurricane Imra.
The opposition legislator, who was speaking in the House of Assembly on Thursday, said more leniency should have been given to the first-time offender.
“While I do not condone crime, I find the sentencing of that time to be a bit harsh considering there were other persons who were caught looting at the time and were given community service,” Maduro-Caines argued.
She proceeded to ask: “What is the difference between him and the others? Why was this case taken to the High Court when the other cases were held in the Magistrate’s Court? Was he chosen to be an example and why? This was a young man who had no previous records at all. [He was a] good basketball player who has represented us in different basketball tournaments. I repeat myself, I am not condoning crime. When you do a crime, you should be punished [but] what about rehab?”
The legislator further suggested that it was unjust of the court to have imprisoned an offender — who is ‘not a menace to society’ — for stealing a television set valued only $286.76.
“Why [did the court aslo] impose that he has to pay for the television when he doesn’t have the television? The television was confiscated. So, I tend to question a lot of things that went down in this young man’s case. Yes, punish him. But it does not add up. Some got community service, for the same thing or worse than he did and now he has to serve time in Balsam Gut.”
Overhaul our judiciary
She also stressed on the need for an overhaul of the current judicial system as it relates to young males.
“There are somethings in the judiciary system that we have to look into and get changed. There need to be more rehab sentences going down for some of our younger men who commit small crimes.”
Dagou, a resident of Belle Vue, was sentenced by Justice Ann-Marie Smith to a total 26 months at Her Majesty’s Prison and ordered to pay the value of the television by January 31, 2020. He will serve an additional six months in prison if he fails to pay.
In handing down her sentence, Justice Smith said the offence was aggravated by the fact that it happened immediately after the onslaught of the 2017 natural disasters.
The court had also pointed to the fact that the offender worked as a messenger for the RVIPF at the time of the offence.