PHILIPSBURG–Two men were sentenced by the Court of First Instance on Thursday for having stolen an electricity cable in Front Street on June 3. The cable belonged to utility company GEBE.
Hakeem Karaldo Hodge (24) was sentenced, according to the Prosecutor’s demand, to two weeks suspended, on two years’ probation and 60 hours of community service.
His partner in crime, Cleus Tyson Gaston (22) from St. Lucia, was sentenced in absentia to two weeks’ imprisonment. As Gaston did not have legal residency and no job or money, he was handed over to the Immigration and Border Protection Services on June 6, the Prosecutor informed the Court.
The two men were caught red-handed by the police. They found the cable and different tools, such as concrete shears and a Stanley knife in the car in which the two were driving. As Hodge could not provide a driver’s licence, he was also charged with and convicted of driving without a licence.
Initially, Hodge was also tried in absentia, but as he appeared in Court later, he was granted the opportunity to defend himself. He told the Judge he had wanted to help his friend by stealing the cable. They wanted to sell the copper in the cable to a company on the dump. “We wanted to earn some money,” he told the Court. “I saw other people doing it also.”
The Prosecutor said he could not understand why the suspect had taken something he could use just because other people were doing the same thing.
Hodge was held at the police station for three days. “He felt that things do not work this way and that he cannot do this anymore,” the Prosecutor said.
As the defendant was sentenced to community service for a previous crime but had failed to comply with the verdict, the Prosecutor said he now deserved at least an equal punishment, with a suspended prison term.
The Court found theft and driving without a licence proven. “I am quite concerned about the suspect who acted without thinking and does not consider the severity of his acts. This is really bad. Driving without a licence also is, because insurance companies do not pay when the damage is caused by an uninsured driver,” said the Judge.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/79644-court-deals-with-two-gebe-cable-thieves