The trespass late last month onto the residential property of Chief Justice Anthony Smellie was a random act, with no knowledge on the part of the trespasser as to whose yard he had entered.
That was the position of defendant Thadeus (Thad) Kaemeron Bodden as explained by his attorney, John Furniss, before sentencing on Tuesday.
Magistrate Valdis Foldats specifically asked if the property had been targeted. Mr. Furniss said it was totally random and senior Crown counsel Candia James said targeting was not suggested.
When caught, Mr. Bodden had said he went to the premises on Patrick’s Island because he was looking for a girl he had met at a bar earlier that night.
After hearing further details of this and similar offenses, the magistrate imposed sentences totaling eight and a half months.
He noted that the maximum penalty allowed by the law for criminal trespass is imprisonment for one year. A first offense of criminal trespass by someone with no previous convictions could be met with a sentence of community service, he pointed out.
Ms. James provided details of Mr. Bodden’s offenses.
She said that in the early hours of Saturday, Dec. 30, an auxiliary constable on patrol saw the figure of someone jumping over the fence at the Chief Justice’s house. The officer chased the figure and caught the man, who turned out to be Mr. Bodden.
After his arrest, police were advised of an incident earlier the same night, in which the owner of another property got an alert on his phone suggesting that there was a trespasser. He checked the CCTV and saw a man approach a vehicle in the yard and attempt to open it. He called police.
Mr. Bodden initially denied being the man on the CCTV and seemed to have an alibi, but he subsequently admitted his guilt. He entered his pleas in Summary Court on Jan. 2.
Ms. James advised the court of three previous offenses, which occurred in November 2016. The defendant was captured on CCTV trying several car doors in an apparent attempt to break into them. After his arrest, he admitted going into one of the vehicles, saying it was to get cigarettes.
Items in the vehicle were disturbed, Ms. James confirmed, and that was what led to the charge of attempted theft.
A few days later, he was seen going into several yards, looking around, and riding out again on a bicycle. When arrested, he initially said he had found the bicycle and was looking to return it; however, he later admitted trespassing.
Mr. Bodden pleaded guilty to these charges in 2016; sentencing was adjourned because he successfully applied to enter the Drug Rehabilitation Court.
Mr. Furniss reminded the court of efforts the defendant had made to stay off drugs and attend court and counseling sessions in 2017.
In passing sentence, the magistrate noted that Mr. Bodden, now 41, had 60 previous convictions. He believed the defendant’s recent efforts were genuine, “but you are at an age now where you risk defining yourself by your actions – being known as a thief.”
He urged the defendant to use his time in custody to reflect.
For the 2016 offenses, he said the attempted theft added to their seriousness. Those, plus the two new trespasses, could have attracted a total of 28 months imprisonment, he said. However, he gave one third credit for guilty pleas and made the 2016 sentences run concurrent and the 2017 sentences concurrent but consecutive to the first set. The result was 12 months.
The magistrate then gave Mr. Bodden credit for time spent in custody after the 2016 offenses, plus half credit for the time he had been on restricted bail. The final result was eight and a half months.