After being charged with breach of curfew and burglary on April 18, Dekembe Parsons on Monday was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay $100 in compensation for burgling the Sunshine Grocery Store near Main Street and stealing food on March 30.

But because the prison sentence ran concurrently from the time he was sentenced in April for breach of curfew, Mr. Parsons was eligible to leave prison on Monday, though he would serve an additional two months behind bars if he did not pay the $100 by Nov. 27, Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin ruled.

“If you do not pay by Nov. 27, the police are going to come and pick you up again,” Ms. Benjamin warned him.

Sentencing guidelines

In deciding Mr. Parsons’ sentence, Ms. Benjamin took into account aggravating factors, including the fact that the food taken was not returned or recovered, and that the crime was allegedly committed during the territory-wide lockdown, she said.

According to Ms. Benjamin, Mr. Parsons’ sole mitigating factor was that he entered a guilty plea, although she added that it came only after he initially pleaded not guilty.

Ms. Benjamin also turned to guidelines by the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States for finding a starting point for Mr. Parsons’ sentencing.

To determine what that point would be, Ms. Benjamin considered the fact that the value of the food Mr. Parsons allegedly stole did not exceed $100.

She also noted that, according to a witness report provided by Crown Counsel Kael London, there were no signs of forced entry at the grocery.

As such, Ms. Benjamin determined that the starting sentence would be three months in prison. Because of Mr. Parsons’ guilty plea, Ms. Benjamin deducted a month, but then added one in recognition of the aggravating factors, she said.

Mr. Parsons was not represented by an attorney.


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