Teen offender gets 34 months

Anthony George Morrison, 19, was sentenced on Monday to 34 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to a charge of theft, two charges of handling stolen goods and one charge of burglary.

The stolen goods he admitted handling were items reported missing after residential burglaries.

In passing sentence, Magistrate Grace Donalds gave Morrison credit for his guilty pleas and assistance to police in recovering much of the property.

However, she continued, the court was mindful of the marked increase in offences of dishonesty in the community. She said the court had to do what it could to protect the community by imposing deterrent sentences.

Defence Attorney John Furniss acknowledged that Morrison, then 18, had served a short custodial sentence in early 2008 for handling stolen goods and breach of probation imposed for ganja offences.

His latest offences, as summarised by Crown Counsel Marilyn Brandt, began on 7 September, 2008, when he and another young male were seen leaving the Westin parking lot with a red and white trail bike. When they were chased they left the bike and escaped on foot. Morrison was apprehended when he came back later to look for the bike. It was valued at $2,000.

On 24 September a George Town resident reported that she left for work at 7.30am. When she returned at 2.50pm, she found that mesh had been removed from a back window and the window pushed open. Missing items included a laptop, jewellery and a DVD player. Total value was $2,000.

Police visited Morrison’s home and he surrendered the items. For this offence he was charged with burglary and first brought to court on 18 November, when he was remanded in custody.

In January he pleaded not guilty to burglary but guilty to handling stolen goods. Sentencing was put off for a month. Meanwhile, Morrison’s mother had begged the court to give him bail because she needed him at home to help with younger children while she worked. He was granted bail with conditions that he live at his mother’s residence and observe a curfew.

In February, sentencing was adjourned so that a social inquiry report could be obtained.

On 28 April, three roommates at a George Town premises left their residence intact at 9am. One returned home later in the day and found a sliding rear door open. One room had been ransacked and three laptops were discovered missing. Police attended and found that the door had been pried open with a metal implement.

On 6 May, two George Town residents left their apartment for work after securing all doors and windows. When they returned for lunch they discovered the rear door had been damaged in the area of the locks.

Stolen items included games consoles, video games and a large-screen TV. Scenes-of-crime officers found fingerprints matching Morrison’s.

Police spoke with him and he showed them an abandoned car in which he had stored most of the items. The 42-inch TV was under some dried coconut branches about 50 yards from the victims’ residence. He was taken into custody, charged with burglary and pleaded guilty.

The magistrate imposed four separate sentences for the four offences, increasing each one. For theft, Morrison received seven months; for handling stolen goods in September, eight months; for the April handling, nine months; and for the May burglary, 10 months.