PHILIPSBURG–A 17-year-old juvenile who caused quite some commotion at his school and at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was sentenced to 36 weeks of youth detention, 34 of which were suspended, on three years’ probation, for having committed five crimes, among which were car theft, two cases of mistreatment and destruction.
The youngster was involved in the theft of a brand-new Hyundai Tucson which was stolen from a teacher at St. Maarten Vocational Training School on February 5, 2019.
The theft was reason for teachers to lay down their work, as they said they had had enough of bad behaviour, vandalism and intimidation from several students since the school year started in 2018.
The young man confessed to the police that he had taken the vehicle’s keys, thinking it was a prank by his friends, but denied he had played a role in the theft and the subsequent stripping of the vehicle.
The judge and the prosecutor both did not find it proven that he had also participated in the destruction of the vehicle and he was acquitted of this charge.
For the remaining five crimes, the prosecutor called for six months of youth detention, five of which were to be suspended, on two years’ probation, with guidance of a youth probation officer and a paediatric psychologist.
The prosecutor said the 17-year-old boy had used violence and arms before. “He easily resorts to senseless and excessive violence,” he said.
Among the violent incidents was an altercation with two security guards at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex on February 1, 2019, during which he had knocked one guard out and stabbed a second with a knife.
On May 18, 2019, he was involved in a school fight during which he hit a person with a plastic pipe, and on November 30, 2019, he damaged the windshield of a neighbour’s car during an argument.
The young defendant only took responsibility for the car theft but placed himself in the role of the victim in the other incidents, stating he had been threatened and attacked.
Slumped in his chair in front of the judge – his hair in neat plaits, a black shirt around his shoulders and snow-white sneakers on his feet – the young defendant declined to respond to questions posed by the judge. “I have nothing to say,” was all he stated.
According to his mother and a probation officer, who were both present at the Courthouse on Friday, the youngster was extremely introverted and nervous knowing that all eyes in the courtroom were on him.
Speaking on behalf of her silent client, attorney-at-law Safira Ibrahim said in her pleadings that she had a “totally different vision” of the case than the prosecutor.
With regard to the incident at the sports complex she said her client had been held in a stranglehold by the first security guard on the pitch after he was denied access to the complex to pick up his bag, which he had forgotten.
“My client was fighting for his life as he had difficulties breathing. He managed to wrestle himself free. He panicked and overwhelmed by emotions he fled and stabbed the second guard who was near the exit,” the lawyer said.
Where the school fight was concerned, Ibrahim said her client was at the wrong place at the wrong time and that he had defended himself against an attack. She pleaded self-defence and dismissal of all prosecution for this charge.
The lawyer said her client confessed to having destroyed the windshield of his neighbour’s car. She said he had been angry and aggressive but denied that he was always out on the street looking for trouble.
“My client loves rapping. Music is his passion and his way to express himself. He has a quiet nature and is introverted. Sometimes he has an outburst of anger when he is being provoked by others,” Ibrahim said in her client’s defence.
At the end of the hearing, the judge told the young defendant that he had committed a lot of crimes, which was reason for concern. “Society needs to be protected against your anger,” the judge said in imposing two weeks of detention at the Miss Lalie Youth Care and Rehabilitation Centre with Parole Board supervision. Also, the young delinquent will have to pay damages to two of his victims, who submitted claims during Friday’s proceedings.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/juvenile-gets-two-weeks-youth-detention-for-series-of-crimes