Judge laments parental apathy

Defendant, 20, now serving six years

Lack of input from the defendant’s parents disturbed Justice Charles Quin, who sentenced Devon Wright on Monday to three years imprisonment for two counts of handling stolen goods. He made the term partly concurrent with a previous sentence of four years, for a total of six years. 

For this matter, which involved two laptop computers stolen in residential night time burglaries, sentencing had been delayed so that Justice Quin could have a social inquiry report for Wright. The probation officer preparing the report included useful information, but overall it made for depressing reading, the judge indicated.  

“What is particularly disturbing is that despite attempts to contact the defendant’s parents, they could not be reached to verify or supplement any information,” Justice Quin said.  

He added, “It has been said before, but it still bears repeating: it is this apathy, and total lack of concern for the welfare of their children, shown by parents, that is one of the major reasons for the high level of serious crime committed by young persons in the last two or three years.” 

Wright was sentenced to four years imprisonment in August 2011 after being found guilty of burglary and damage to property in what was referred to as a ram-raid of a grocery store on Mary Street. He had been on bail for that charge when these handling offences were committed in May 2011. The laptops were valued at $800 and $1,090; one of them was a gift, which meant there was sentimental value to the loser as well as financial. 

Crown Counsel Tricia Hutchinson, who prosecuted the most recent matter, reported in a pre-sentence hearing that Wright had 11 previous convictions, nine for burglary, since 2009. She said courts had tried other approaches with Wright, such as a community service order, probation and short terms of imprisonment ranging from 56 to 98 days. They did not seem to have a deterrent effect, she noted. 

Defence attorney John Furniss was the one who suggested a partly-concurrent sentence. “How much longer do you add for someone his age?” he asked.  

The judge asked about Wright’s consumption of ganja. The young man had admitted smoking the illegal substance since he was 12 and said he smoked 10 to 15 spliffs per day. “He is not prepared to discontinue his drug use,” the judge said, referring to the social inquiry report. 

“How much of that is bravado and how much is foolishness?” Mr. Furniss replied. He said Wright had been involved with people sentenced for criminality, as well as being involved in his own criminality. 

Justice Quin said the social inquiry showed that Wright was “clearly bright, knowledgeable and full of potential,” but scored high on a risk assessment scale, which put him at 100 per cent probability of committing a new crime leading to conviction within one year of release. 

Now 20, Wright had to be responsible for his actions, the judge said. In view of the fact that Wright was sentenced to four years imprisonment for crimes committed near in time to these handling offences, the court could invoke the principle of totality. Therefore, one year of the new sentence was made concurrent with the previous term, while two years will be consecutive. 

Mr. Furniss advised the court that Wright had been looking at an early release date in 2014. The new sentence would add at least 16 months to that, based on the usual one-third off for good behaviour. 

At the trial, which Wright chose to be by judge alone, he was found not guilty of the burglaries themselves, as there was no physical evidence such as fingerprints. However, he was at his uncle’s house within hours of the burglaries and his uncle’s evidence was that Wright brought the laptops 
with him. 


  1. There is only so much a parent can do. Can you blame them for kicking him to the curb. He will now have an ample amount of time to think about what is right and wrong.

  2. Good grief ! Smoking 15 joints a day ! This man is stoned 24/7 . Since 2009 has 11 convictions with 9 for burglary only gets a few yrs hopes to be out in 2014. Guess what he will do when he gets out ! I guess smoking 15 joints a day breaking into houses !

  3. This article does not tell the whole story about his parents or, for that matter, about Devon. One cannot presume to know or understand his situation simply based on one article about him. (For example saying that he was kicked to the curb.)

  4. It doesn’t seem to me to be a hardship on the parents to provide information to the court on their son’s behavior. One would think that they would have an interest in the young man.

  5. Well Bush68 you certainly did not enlighten us with any additional intel.
    Bottom-line is this kid is not only a waste but now a burden since the government must pay for his food and shelter.
    I vote for bringing back the chain gangs and seeing him picking up trash 10 hours a day on West Bay road. At least he can wave to all his friends as they toot the horn driving by.

  6. I would think that his running with the law is mostly due to his addiction to marijuana which caused him to steal so he can buy his daily usage. First, why does he had to take this drug daily? Secondly, all the money spent on court appearances, lawyers and judges could probably have paid already for a very efficient reabilitation program but we do not want lawyers and judges on the street either. Thirdly, why is marijuana so expensive?

  7. I do not have an issue with the whole pot thing. I grew up with it in the 70’s, it was the norm. But we worked hard at what minimum wage jobs we could find and keep because there were 10 guys behind you wanting that dish washing job.
    Nobody ever stole money from family, friends or society. It simply was not acceptable.
    My parents and others would have kicked me swiftly to the curb for any of this kids nonsense.
    If this punk would have tried to rob me in my home, let’s just say he would be missing a few digits. Namely the all so important opposing thumbs.
    I say we cart them off to the 12 mile zone outside of Cuba on a raft with one gallon of water and let the useless cretin figure it out. That’s my level of apathy.

  8. Like I said, the article does not tell the whole story. It is not up to me to do the reporter’s (or the parole officer’s) job. That said, the sentence seems justified and I pray that Devon Jr. uses his time in prison to his benefit and comes out a better young man. He has a lot of potential.

  9. It has been said before, but it still bears repeating: it is this apathy, and total lack of concern for the welfare of their children, shown by parents, that is one of the major reasons for the high level of serious crime committed by young persons in the last two or three years. (Quin J.)

    The above quote by Mr. Justice Quin really hits the nail on its head. One solution that is possible: When a young offender commits a crime and is found quilty, the young offender and both parents must submit themselves for counselling for a six month term as part of the sentencing process. If an offender is beyond the age of a young person, then the parents should not be held responsible.

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