The young man who pleaded guilty to one count of burglary, however, will only serve six months in jail as the remaining two months have been ordered to be suspended for 24 months.
This was because of his young age and the fact that he is a juvenile.
Principal Magistrate Felix Hollison when sentencing the juvenile recently said he hoped this sentence will teach the accused a lesson and to stop stealing when he is released.
“Section 8 of the Constitution provides for the protection of deprivation of property,” Hollison said.
He said section 9 of the Constitution also provides for the protection of privacy of home and other property.
“These constitutional rights must always be protected, and it is the role of the courts to ensure that these fundamental rights are protected through the issuance of the appropriate sentence,” he added.
“The courts have reminded the public about these constitutional rights on many occasions and I will not shy away from my judicial duty to apply and enforce the law correctly and inconsistently,” he further added.
Hollison imposed a starting point of 18 months imprisonment.
He, however, had 10 months deducted to reflect the young accused’s early guilty plea, he is a first-time offender, his cooperation with the police, his personal circumstances, and due to the fact that he is a juvenile.
Hollison then ordered that two of the eight months imposed be suspended for 24 months.
The jail term was further ordered to be backdated to when the juvenile has been first remanded in custody.
The young lad was chased by his father on 24 November 2020 and he left home and went to the neighbouring Tingoa village with his cousin brother to find food to eat.
Upon their arrival at Tingoa village, the accused’s cousin brother told him to climb into Melly’s house.
His cousin brother then walked away.
The accused climbed and entered the house by removing one of the louvers of the window at the back of the house.
He took $1, 800, and a sleeve of cigarette and exited through the front door.
No one was inside the house at that time.
Police recovered all properties except for $200 and a packet of cigarettes which was used by the accused and his cousin brother.
Hollison said the offence was committed under the cover of the night to ensure that what he did go undetected.
“In the facts, the defendant seemed to shift the blame to his cousin brother and the fact that he was hungry.
“The commission of the offence of burglary at night is very serious and this case is no exception.”
He said the commission of the offence of Burglary, technically means that the accused breached some of the fundamental rights such as the rights to protection from the deprivation of property and protection for the privacy of home and other property provided by the Constitution.
Having delivered the sentence, Hollison also highlighted an issue regarding the age of the accused.
He said when the juvenile was remanded last November, he was said to be 19 years old and there was no indication from both the prosecutor and the defence that he was a juvenile.
Hollison said, hence, the young man was initially treated as an adult and was remanded accordingly.
He said it was when parties settled the agreed facts just last week that the accused is regarded as 15 years of age.
“The issue of age was not brought to the attention of the court in the first place especially during the remand application at Tingoa until the sentencing submission and mitigation stage last week.
“It is my hope that parties are not misleading the court in any form or manner in this instance as it may raise some ethical issues on the part of the lawyers, and further issues for the defendant himself.”
Donation Houa of the Public Solicitor’s Office represented the juvenile while Public Prosecutor Paul Fanasia Jnr appeared for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BONGIDANI