Repeat offender can get help in prison

Because there are now two forensic psychologists on the staff at Northward Prison, Terrence Tex Bryan should be able to get the help he needs in the next five and a half years.

That was the conclusion Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale came to after reviewing 12 charge files dating back to February 2006. Bryan was 19 at that time.

‘We kept trying because of his age… because of his difficult upbringing,’ the magistrate said when she passed sentence on 20 May.

She also cited Bryan’s openness to the court and probation officers who dealt with him and regarded him as intelligent and having great potential. She quoted reports in which he said he had a serious anger problem. ‘This was something we recognised as needing intervention if you were not going to spend your life in confrontation,’ she told Bryan.

He had also admitted he got addicted to ganja and burglary.

‘We don’t have somebody who ever pretended to be anyone but who he is. Because of his openness we thought we could work with him,’ the magistrate explained. ‘He was viewed as being at high risk unless he benefited from supervision and intervention.’

Now she had no choice but to send him to prison. ‘They now have specialists to assist you in coming to terms with addictions,’ the magistrate told Bryan.

Carrying an offensive weapon in February 2006 attracted six months. A July 2006 daytime burglary of a South Church Street residence when no one was home netted two years.

Bryan committed his last two burglaries on 24 February this year in the Boggy Sand Road area of West Bay. The magistrate handed down a sentence of three years for these because they were at night and the occupants were home at the time.

The sentences were made to run consecutively for a total of five and a half years. Sentences for other offences were made to run concurrently.

The magistrate said she did not blame Bryan for the anger he had expressed. ‘Where is your fault? Taking out your anger on the rest of the world. You don’t have to let your past dictate the rest of your life. Don’t let the past control your future,’ she urged.

Over the past two years the court had tried every programme available, the magistrate noted. He spent periods in custody and then was given chances to return to the community. He spent time at Eagle House, where he took classes and was successful in several subjects; at that point he expressed interest in attending University College of the Cayman Islands.

Defence Attorney John Furniss reminded the court that Bryan had been doing well for 10 or 11 weeks in the Caribbean Haven residential drug treatment programme. He had been given responsibilities; when he was endeavouring to carry them out, there was a confrontation because somebody refused to do what he asked. As a result, Bryan was asked to leave the programme.

Mr. Furniss asked the court to consider Bryan’s guilty pleas, cooperation, age and efforts made. He pointed out there was never any contact with occupants during any of the burglaries.

Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees set out facts of the offences in chronological order.

In February 2006, he was accused of using a machete to chop a vehicle at a Walkers Road gas station. Damage to the windshield was $2,392. Because of an error in the law at the time, there was no such charge as damage to property, so that had to be withdrawn.

Bryan pleaded to carrying an offensive weapon and common assault — swinging the machete at the complainant in the car. The sentences were six months each.

In March 2006 he was arrested for two grams of ganja and drug consumption. Those sentences were also six months.

About a week after the South Church Street burglary there was an attempted burglary off Aspiration Drive. It was daytime and the occupant was disturbed by the noise of something falling on the patio. The occupant checked and saw two males quickly leaving the scene. Bryan admitted being one of them. The sentence was two years and two years for going equipped for stealing.

In February 2007, Bryan was sent to the forensic lab at the George Town Hospital for a urine test. A dispute arose and he damaged a glass door valued at $420. By this time the law had been amended to make damage an offence again. This sentence was six months.

In June 2007 there was a burglary of a residence on Outpost Street involving a Blackberry phone, a wallet with $30 and keys. The sentence was nine months.

In July 2007, after he had been denied access to a relative’s house because of his previous behaviour, he damaged a door to the value of $860. He also let the air out of the tyres of a vehicle in the yard.

In the same incident, he used rude and threatening language that resulted in a charge of disorderly conduct. The sentences were six months.

The last offences were the two burglaries in February this year. Other charges related to driving without insurance and without being qualified, plus two of failing to attend court.