Teen sentenced for aggravated burglary

File photo

A teenager who broke into his uncle’s house and attempted to rob him at gunpoint was sentenced to more than two years in prison last week.

The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, simple burglary, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.

Court documents revealed that, in March this year, sometime after 10pm, a 66-year-old George Town man had gone to bed after checking on his 93-year-old mother who was staying in the room next to his. After being awoken by a loud noise at his door, the man attempted to prevent two intruders from entering, but they were able to push their way in.

The intruders’ faces were not covered, but both were wearing hoodies. One of the intruders was armed with a gun and the other brandished a metal pipe. The man recognised the gunman as his nephew, and the person with the pipe as his nephew’s friend.

The nephew then pointed the gun at his uncle and demanded cash. When he refused, a struggle ensued, according to the court documents. While trying to fight off the intruders, the man reached for a machete and the man with the metal pipe hit him on his hand.

Eventually, the intruders made their escape on foot, empty-handed.

The following day, when the teen was arrested, police found cocaine on him.

He was charged with aggravated burglary, and later released on bail. Six months later, he was re-arrested after trying to pick the locks of his friend’s house. Initially, the teen said he was there to see his friend who was expecting him, but that was later discovered not to be true.

During an initial sentencing hearing, prosecutor Nicole Petit told Justice Linda Dobbs that she was somewhat conflicted about whether to seek a suspended sentence or a custodial sentence.

“My lady, I must say that after having read a very moving and touching letter by the defendant, the Crown is now left to consider whether a suspended sentence could be passed instead of a custodial one,” said Petit. “However, I am reminded of what has been said by people who know [the defendant]. They provide a narrative, that [he] knows how to say the right words and can be very manipulative.”

Petit ultimately argued that despite the defendant pleading guilty, the custody threshold had been passed and the appropriate sentence would be between two and four years. She also added that the defendant does not respect court orders, as evidenced by the fact that he had committed the second offence of burglary while on bail for the first incident, which was still before the courts.

“We have to agree that the time has come to draw a line in the sand and bring home to him the importance of his actions,” said Petit.

The defendant’s lawyer Rupert Wheeler said the defendant was a classic example of a young man who was destined to end up running afoul of the law.

“[The defendant’s] mother was a drug addict, who herself was still growing up when he had him,” said Wheeler. “He didn’t have much of a male presence in his life either, and so he was left to raise himself. This is the time to tell him this is his final chance, an opportunity to show the courts he can be trusted.”

Wheeler told the court that the few weeks his client had served in prison has significantly changed him.

“Since being arrested, he has learned that he is going to be a father,” said Wheeler. “He has been able to find work. Should he be released on a suspended sentence, he will be able to return to work. Furthermore, there are several conditions that could be imposed on him as part of his release order that would prevent him from getting into trouble.”

But before he could present any conditions, the court was reminded by the probation office that all options had been explored, and because the defendant had committed the crimes against his family, specifically his uncle and grandmother, they were hesitant to have him return to their home. The probation office also warned that without a stable environment, the defendant was at high risk of reoffending.

When dealing with the cocaine offences, the courts heard that an older person had given him the cocaine and told him he had to sell it. The defendant did not reveal the name of the person.

The teen was sentenced to two years and one month for the aggravated burglary. A sentence of nine months was also handed down for the attempted burglary, which is to run concurrent to the first sentence. Justice Dobbs ordered that time spent in custody be deducted from his sentence.

It is illegal to name a defendant, who at the time of the crime, or sentencing, is 16 years old or younger. For this reason, the Cayman Compass is not releasing the identity of the defendant.

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