Teens sentenced for counterfeit money

Three teens convicted of forging
counterfeit currency were sentenced by Justice Roy Jones on Friday, 26 February.

Because the boys were 13, 14 and 15
years old at the time of the offences, their names will not be reported.

In arguing on behalf of their
clients, the young men’s attorneys asked the judge not to send the defendants
to prison, which they suggested might serve to further erode the boys’ chances
for future opportunities.

Defence Attorney John Furniss said
a social inquiry report was compiled on the individual he represented and the
findings were positive. He added that his client had been working in the water
sports industry for the past six months and his employer had spoken highly of

Mr. Furniss said the boy’s mother
was not at court because she was too disappointed and whatever punishment he faces;
he would have to do so on his own. He said the mother had told him she did not
feel prison was the answer at this point but agreed that the boy needed a
wakeup call.

The attorney described his client’s
attitude as compliant and said with further assistance his potential for
reoffending would be greatly diminished.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey,
who represented the two brothers in the trial, told the court that according to
the Youth Justice Law, imprisonment should be imposed only when there is a
history of not responding to noncustodial sentences, or when only a custodial
sentence would be adequate to protect the public, or when the seriousness of
the offence cannot be justified without custody.

 He conceded that the probation
reports done on his clients were not positive, saying the boys have an attitude
problem and their parents were to blame, according to the report.

Mr. Dixey said one of the young men
had potential as a builder and could produce things and was employed at a
furniture store as a result of these abilities and, with care could become a
useful member of society.

 “These were young boys and the amount of
counterfeit notes was not a lot of money,” he said, adding that as youths, the
boys may not have conceptualised the gravity of their actions.

“This was more like schoolboys’
play, which may not have even been possible 10 years ago,” said Mr. Dixey, who
pointed out that the technology used in the case was fairly new and more of a
means of play for the youngsters.

He asked the court to look at
sentencing from this perspective.

In handing down his sentence
Justice Jones pointed out the forging of currency notes could undermine the
economy of a country.

He said the maximum penalty in this
jurisdiction for forging currency notes was life.

 The maximum sentence for uttering counterfeit
currency was 10 years.

However, Justice Jones said the
quantity in the case was very important, as it did not exceed CI$200.

In taking into account all factors,
including age, it was still important to reflect deterrence in the sentence
imposed, he explained.

He then sentenced two of the
youngsters to two years imprisonment to be suspended for a period of two years.

He said he chose this particular
course because two of the youngsters had previous records.

Supervision by a probation officer
was also ordered in addition to participation in counselling and social work
deemed appropriate by the probation office.

The third boy did not have a
previous record and was sentenced to two years probation. His conviction will
be recorded against him and he will serve 100 hours of community service in addition
to anger management classes, as well as abide by a curfew.

Failure to comply or commission of
another offence, will result in the defendant having his sentence revised.