A 25-year-old father from Amelia’s Ward, Linden, who claimed that a demon possessed him when he snatched a young lady’s gold chain, was yesterday sentenced to 18 months in jail for larceny from the person when he appeared before Magistrate Allan Wilson at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The charge against Ron Rowland stated that on June 26 in Georgetown he stole the item worth $75,000 from Iyesha Kendall. He pleaded guilty to the offence.
Prosecutor Denise Booker told the court that on the day in question around 17:30 hours the victim, Kendall, was standing on the route 45 bus park awaiting transportation. Booker said a bus came along and Kendall attempted to board the vehicle. The defendant however grabbed the victim from behind the neck and snatched off the gold chain that she was wearing.
Prosecutor Booker continued that Kendall raised an alarm and the defendant was apprehended by public- spirited citizens and a plain clothes policeman who was in the vicinity at the time. Booker said that Rowland was arrested and taken to the Brickdam Station. While there, the prosecutor said that the chain was between Rowland’s legs and it fell out. He was subsequently charged with the offence.
When given a chance to speak, Rowland said that he is a father of three and he normally works in the interior. He said prior to the incident he spent three months in the interior but made no money. Rowland said he exited the jungle area with only $45,000 in his possession and when he returned to the mother of his children she told him that she no longer wanted him. Apart from that Rowland said the woman abruptly left their residence, leaving the three children for him to care.
Rowland said he needed quick money to take care of his kids so he decided to go to town. He recounted that he was watching the victim for a period of time contemplating whether he should do the crime even though he knew it was not right. “I knew what I was doing was not good. I followed her for some time, and I had been watching her for over an hour just thinking whether I should do it or not.”
He begged for mercy and told the court that it was his first time and he did not set out to commit the crime but his financial position was the catalyst for his actions. Rowland begged the victim for mercy saying that he would not do it again.
Magistrate Wilson intervened and cautioned the defendant that his first time could have been his last. He asked Rowland what he would have done if a licenced firearm holder had been in proximity and shot him. “What if someone with a licenced gun had shot you…..shot and taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital to be pronounced dead on arrival?”
Adding to the information he already gave the court, Rowland said someone did indeed pull out a gun. He said a guard from the Parliament Building had done so but the magazine dropped to the ground. Rowland said the rounds fell out and the security guard lashed him behind the head with the gun.
The defendant still did not stop there, he felt the need to give the court even more information and reiterated that he had been watching the complainant for more than an hour. He then turned to her and asked her if she remembered talking to someone at the Bounty Supermarket a short distance away from the Stabroek Bazaar. The victim’s jaw dropped before recalling the conversation with the individual, but she said she had no idea she was being watched.
Rowland told the court that he needed deliverance from evil because he thinks he is possessed by demons. He said that the demons were responsible for his wrongdoing and he needed to be baptized.
Prosecutor Booker later gave her view that the defendant should be given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment. She said that persons should be able to move freely with their gold jewellery without fear. She also mentioned that robberies were prevalent in the Stabroek Market area.
The defendant was now on his knees begging for the mercy of the court and the victim, but Kendall also wanted to say something. She told court that since the incident she has been traumatized and is unable to rest. She said that she is still very shaken up and is hoping that when her chain is returned it would all be over.
The Magistrate then told Rowland that he would be able to fix all his problems where he is going. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and there, Magistrate Wilson said, he could deal with all his demons, become baptized and get it all out of his system.
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