Theft means residence over

Theft from his employer cost a Jamaican national his job, his work permit and the right to remain in these islands.

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale told Adolphus McMillan Barton it also cost him his good character.

Barton, 48, pleaded guilty last week to stealing 12 windows from A. L. Thompson Home Depot on or about 23 October. The windows were valued at $1,560.

He worked as a delivery person and had been employed since 1999 by A. L. Thompson Appliance Centre. They are the same company and he knew the rules as to how employees could purchase goods.

In passing sentence, the magistrate noted the theft had been discovered almost immediately and the goods were recovered.

The question was how to sentence him. Considering the relatively low value of the goods and the fact that it was a one-off theft rather than a continuing scheme, immediate custody was not necessarily the answer, she said.

As a foreigner who no longer had a work permit, he could not be ordered to do community service and the court could not put him on probation.

He had said he was financially embarrassed, which was probably what caused him to steal in the first place.

But there had to be a penalty and the court had to mark in some way its disapproval of this type offence, the magistrate said. She imposed a fine of $750, saying Barton must have saved something over his years of working here.

The defendant said he had some possessions he could sell, including a car. He asked for time.

The magistrate gave him two weeks, on condition that someone sign as a surety to guarantee payment.