A Zeelugt man, who broke the window of a car to steal a handbag and was caught in the act, was yesterday sentenced to seven months imprisonment after he was found guilty of the charges when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Although Michael Hansraj, 38, of 437 Zeelugt North, East Bank Essequibo, maintained his innocence, Magistrate Annette Singh, before whom he appeared told him that the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the court found him guilty of the two charges.
It was alleged that on January 22, in Georgetown Hansraj damaged the rear glass of a car valued $18,000 and stole a handbag valued $15,000, property of Amanda Rafeek. He had denied the charges and was remanded to prison. The case was prosecuted by Prosecutor Adduni Inniss.
Before handing down the sentence, the magistrate reminded Hansraj about the police’s case against him. The allegation was that on the day in question around 10:30 am Rafeek parked her NZE car outside Church’s Chicken restaurant and went in to make a purchase. A traffic rank who was on duty in the area observed the defendant breaking the rear glass of the car and attempting to enter the vehicle. The rank approached Hansraj who had the complainant’s bag in his hand and enquired about the reason for his actions at which point Rafeek returned and identified the vehicle as hers.
Magistrate Singh also told the defendant that she believed the complainant who in her evidence testified that she saw him with her bag while, the testimony of the rank who observed the act was also believed. In addition, the magistrate reminded him that he admitted to the police to committing the crime, saying “A was jus trying a ting”
However, when the bag which was used in evidence was shown to Hansraj in court, he vehemently denied knowledge of the bag.
When he was further asked if he had any question for the police officer who gave testimony against him, Hansraj said everything the policeman told the court in his testimony were lies.
The magistrate also asked him why he should not be given the maximum sentence. In response, Hansraj, who became emotional, repeatedly told the court that he was innocent of the charge levelled against him. “I am innocent, My Worship… I was coming home from the hospital and was walking on Camp Street when the police come jus suh and hold me and start beat me up,” he claimed.
He was then asked to give an explanation about the police’s case against him, but refused saying, “Me na gat no explanation. Nobady na want hear nothing fan me. And me is a sickly man, me na go deh fuh tek nothing, me does wuk, My Worship.” He then begged the magistrate to be lenient in her sentence.
Hansraj was sentenced to four months in jail on the charge of damage of property and three months on the charge of simple larceny.