Four young people were sentenced last week for burglary at a George Town bar, with one of them going to prison for a mugging committed the same night. The offenses occurred in April 2015.
Defendant Othneil Hezekiah Williams was 18 at the time. Darrel Anthony Williams was 20; Andriana Shanice Ebanks, 21; and Charles Walton, 18.
All four pleaded guilty to the burglary at Cayman Cabana on North Church Street, where beers and a bottle of tequila, worth a total of $144, were stolen.
Later that night, a female pedestrian was robbed by a man with a machete as she walked along West Bay Road. The Williamses and Ms. Ebanks were initially charged and brought to court on the basis of aiding and abetting.
Further investigation led to Mr. Walton, who ended up pleading guilty to the robbery. That charge was then left on file in the case of Othneil Williams, who pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods – a watch taken from the victim but later returned.
Charges against Darrel Williams and Ms. Ebanks were not pursued.
Senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit explained that after the burglary, the defendants drank the beers and then drove around. They came upon the lone female; only Mr. Walton did the robbery.
Ms. Petit described his offense as a street robbery or mugging. The presence of the machete added to the threat of harm, she said, even though Mr. Walton used the machete only to cut the strap of the woman’s purse.
After he cut it and the purse fell to the ground, the woman thought about reaching for it, but she remembered the machete. The mere presence of the weapon caused fear, Ms. Petit related; the victim was scared and nervous about what the robber might to with it.
Before he cut the strap, she and the robber had tussled for the purse and the woman’s finger was dislocated in the process. A medical report said the injury, previously reported as a broken finger, was not likely to be permanent.
Items stolen included US$8, CI$4, the watch and rosary beads.
The offense was committed under the influence of alcohol, Ms. Petit said. Mr. Walton said he had been drinking throughout the day and by the time of the robbery, he was “drunk and charged up.”
Justice Charles Quin said all four were equally culpable for the burglary. He ordered all four to pay $35 toward the cost of the stolen beverages. He sentenced Darrel Williams and Ms. Ebanks to 100 hours of community service each and one year on probation.
He sentenced Othneil Williams to 200 hours of community service and two years on probation.
Justice Quin commented that community service enables offenders to put something back into the community, it reflected the gravity of the offense and it was generally positive, constructive work.
Sentencing for Mr. Walton involved other factors, as pointed out by defense attorney Nicholas Dixey.
“This is a man with the functioning of a nine year old,” he told the court. “So not only is he 18 in years when the offense is committed, his functioning levels are that of a child. And that is the evidence of a psychologist in 2015. His ability to foresee consequences and to take responsibility is the same as a child …. Not only is he a child, he is a child with ADHD and anxiety disorder with depressive symptoms. He is a child who is suggestible.”
Justice Quin accepted this defendant’s young mental age and the additional mitigating factor of ADHD. But, he added, he really could not ignore Mr. Walton’s other, separate offense, which included damage to property and common assault.
The robbery had clearly left his victim shocked and scared, the judge said, and when something like this happens, the whole community suffers.
With a starting point of three years, six months, he gave discounts for the mitigating factors and the guilty plea, arriving at a sentence of 27 months. A three-month sentence for the burglary was made concurrent. Time served is to be taken into account.