Facing a three-year prison sentence after admitting to stealing a smartphone, a teen was on Friday given a reprieve ahead of sentencing after an attorney appealed on his behalf, while arguing that jail would only make the young man much worse.
Godfrey Pereira, 19, of 58 Fifth Street, Albert-town, was charged with stealing a $120,000 Sam-sung Galaxy smartphone on February 6 from a car he was tasked with washing. Pereira, employed at a wash bay on Quamina Street, admitted to stealing the phone from Ronnie Hooper’s car. Hooper is Pereira’s father’s boss, the court heard.
According to Prosecutor Michael Grant, at about 10:30hrs on Thursday, Pereira’s father took the car to the wash bay to be washed and cleaned. At the time, Hooper’s cellphone was left in the car. However, it was discovered missing upon return. Hooper notified Pereira’s father, who, in turn, questioned his son. However, the youth denied any knowledge of the phone.
Grant said that the matter was later reported to police and acting on information received, they went to the defendant’s home, where he revealed the stolen phone to them. He was subsequently charged.
Despite being informed by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry that the crime carried a sentence of three years, Pereira maintained his guilty plea. Lawyer Peter Hugh, who was present in court during the proceedings, stepped in on the youngster’s behalf.
After Pereira apologised to the court for his actions, Hugh pointed out that Pereira was a first-time offender. Hugh also emphasised that the young man might come out worse if sent to prison. Though he noted the seriousness of the offence and the penalty it carried, he requested probation for Pereira.
After weighing the lawyer’s words, Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry ordered a probation report. Pereira will return to court on February 21 for a probation report and sentencing.