A man damaged four vehicles belonging to relatives following a family dispute over land, a court heard this week.

Jeremy Claston Holness, 36, appeared in Summary Court Monday, where he pleaded guilty to four charges of damaging property. In each case, the property was a motor vehicle owned by a family member. The total cost of the damage was $1,630.

Mr. Holness was sentenced on Monday and was given until the end of October to pay for the damages he caused.

Crown counsel Aaliyah McCarthy and defense attorney John Furniss provided the background to the charges.

Some time after 4 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2017, police officers responded to a report of damage to the vehicles. The owners had been alerted by sounds in their common yard. At least one person saw Mr. Holness, who appeared intoxicated.

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He was arrested and pleaded guilty when brought to court, where a social inquiry report was requested.

This week, Magistrate Valdis Foldats said he was concerned about the attitude Mr. Holness had expressed. He quoted the defendant as saying, “What I did wasn’t wrong …. I had to do what I had to do.”

Ms. McCarthy advised the court that estimates for repairs of the various damages were $200, $830, $450 and $150, for a total of $1,630.

Mr. Furniss said the root cause of his client’s behavior was a family dispute over land or ”the governance of the family yard.”

The magistrate replied that the offenses had crossed the custody threshold, but, “I think it’s more important we get the money to the people whose cars were damaged …. It has to be a sentence that deters him personally, but also protects these people.”

Mr. Furniss advised that the defendant had moved out of the family yard.

The magistrate suggested that the family get “a neutral person” to assist in resolving the dispute. If the matter is legal, a lawyer could give advice, he pointed out. If there are other concerns, then a pastor or respected person in the community might be asked for assistance, he said.

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