The level of violence inflicted on a man who was robbed outside his home was “out of proportion” to what may have been necessary to steal items from him, Justice Marlene Carter said in passing sentence last week.
The defendant, Azeem Delano Burton, received a term of imprisonment of two years and one month after pleading guilty to the robbery, which occurred in Prospect on May 20 this year.
Robbery is defined in the Penal Code as stealing by use of force against a person, or stealing by putting any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.
Attorney Jonathon Hughes had argued that the force used was inherent in the committing of the robbery, but no more than that.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright had submitted that the robbery involved a sustained attack over and above what was necessary to commit the offense.
The judge agreed with Mr. Wainwright. She pointed out that, although the robber had inflicted numerous punches and kicks, there was no evidence the victim/complainant had fought back. He himself said he did not fight back and he was in shock as to what was happening.
In setting out the circumstances of the crime, Mr. Wainwright explained that the victim had been to a George Town bar that Sunday night and he engaged in casual conversation with other patrons.
Around 10 p.m. he asked a friend to give him a lift home. He was dropped at his front door by the friend, who then drove off.
A car that had been following them immediately pulled up with four individuals inside. Before the victim could get inside his home, he was knocked to the ground and kicked and punched, which caused cuts and bruises. He was then relieved of his personal property, including a cellphone, ring and wallet with its contents.
None of the stolen property was recovered and no one was apprehended except Mr. Burton.
He pleaded guilty in June, but said he had taken only the phone. A hearing was conducted in October, when Justice Carter rejected the basis of plea and accepted the Crown’s version of events.
In passing sentence, she considered the aggravating features to be the level of violence used and the personal value of the ring stolen.
The victim had explained that the ring was given to him by his father and it had been made from gold mined near their family home.
Mitigating factors were the defendant’s age, in that he was 19 at the time of the offense; he had no previous convictions; he had shown remorse; and had pleaded guilty at the first reasonable opportunity.
Justice Carter pointed out that, although there had to be a special hearing, Mr. Burton had never sought to avoid responsibility for the robbery.
Because of the level of violence used, the judge set her sentence starting point at three years instead of the usual two and a half. On that basis, she allowed discounts totaling nine months, for a final sentence of 25 months. The defendant is to received credit for time in custody.