Burglar entered children’s room

Intruder confronted and held for police

After hearing how the head of a household had confronted an intruder at night, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale imposed a term of three years imprisonment for burglary, even though the defendant pleaded guilty.

She noted that the maximum sentence that can be given in Summary Court generally is four years and agreed that Miguel Diaz was entitled to a discount for his plea.

Crown Counsel Marilyn Brandt said the householder was at home with his family around 4.30am when he became aware of someone in the house. He pretended to be asleep as the person walked around.

The intruder came into the bedroom and picked up something. He left and then came back, flicking a lighter to see while he opened and closed various drawers.

The intruder left that bedroom. He was next seen flicking the lighter in the children’s room.

That was when the householder got up, turned on a light and confronted the intruder. A struggle ensued, but the householder held on to the intruder until police arrived, Ms Brandt said. The incident occurred at a George Town apartment complex on 20 August, 2010.

Diaz, 47, initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea in November and asked to be admitted to the Drug Rehabilitation Court.

Defence Attorney John Furniss said Diaz admitted previous offences, including burglary, with his drug abuse being the main factor in his offending.

Last month Diaz asked to come out of the drug court programme because he could not keep the various appointments required of him, the attorney indicated.

“If he found the appointments onerous, he would have found the programme onerous,” the magistrate replied. “It is not an easy option.”

Mr. Furniss asked that Diaz be given credit for not wasting the court’s time and not requiring the householder to give evidence.

The magistrate said every man is duty bound to protect his children and she was trying to imagine how aggrieved the complainant in this case would be to find a stranger in his children’s room.

All burglaries are serious, but a residential burglary at night with the occupants home is the most serious, the magistrate said.

A burglar does more than steal goods from a man, she pointed out. “What you do is rob him of his peace of mind, his sense of security.”

The magistrate noted that when this burglary occurred, Diaz was under a suspended sentence of six months for refusing to provide a specimen of urine for testing.

In addition to the three years, she activated that sentence and made the two run consecutively, for a total of three and a half years. He will be given credit for time in custody on these charges.