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Judicial CP - July 1998

Corpun file 10068

Tobago News, Scarborough, 26 July 1998

Judge wants heavy jail for bandits

AN Appeal Court Judge has called for heavy jail sentences as a deterrent to the rapidly increasing crime rate in Tobago.

The call has come from Justice Sat Sharma who, last week in Port of Spain, delivered the Court's judgment in which a young Tobagonian had appealed a seven-year jail sentence and ten strokes for armed robbery in June 1991.

Justice Sharma who was on the Bench with Justices Zainool Hosein and Margot Warner, dismissed the appeal of Devon James who was 16 years old at the time he robbed businesswoman Cheryl Jacob at the point of a gun.

James was jailed and ordered to be flogged after a jury, at the Scarborough Assizes on June 28, 1995, found him guilty. But his lawyer, Israel Khan, asked the Appeal Court to find that the sentence of Mr Justice Lennox Deyalsingh was too severe.

Khan asked the Appeal Judges to take into consideration that James was only 16 at the time he committed the offence. But Justice Sharma, delivering the Appeal Court's decision last week, noted that many of the most serious crimes in the country today were being committed by young people still in their teens.

Khan had also asked the Court to take into consideration that it was his client's "first brush with the law." But Justice Sharma replied that even though this was so, young James had embarked on a criminal career by starting at the very top - armed robbery.

The time had come, said Mr Sharma, for the Courts to impose appropriate sentences on criminals who use weapons in their attacks against law-abiding citizens.

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