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Jah gives thanks

19-year-old gets second chance from magistrate

COURT TODAY BLOCKIt was another of those cases where the rehabilitative arm of the law reached out to make a difference in the life of a youngster.

After Jah Rastafari Jones entered the District ‘C’ Magistrates’ Court today oozing with attitude, at the end of it all he released a most beautiful smile and thanked the court for helping him.

Jones was remanded to HMP Dodds on Tuesday after pleading guilty to breaking into Glen Jones’ Long Bay, St Philip home sometime last week.

Sergeant Azel Skeete said at the time that the complainant invited Jones to stay at his premises but never gave him access to the house. Sometime between April 17 and 22, the homeowner missed items from inside his house and reported the matter to police.

He later searched a bag which he saw in the area and discovered some of the missing items inside, while police found a scissors in a haversack which Jones owned.

Acting Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch remanded the convicted man until today to meet with a probation officer; but that did not go as planned.

After a short meeting with Jones, the Magistrate asked the probation officer to address the court. Instead, she informed the court that Jones said he was not “bout nuh long talk” nor was he “bout gi’ing no lot o information”.

When Birch questioned Jones as to whether he had really said that and if he was aware of what he was facing, Jones replied: “Jail is jail, Sir . . . I done went.”

It was then that the court reminded him that over the past few days he had only been on remand.

“You are not hard; you are hard-skinned and hard-ears,” Birch said sternly. “You are 19-years-old and we are trying to rescue you because you are worth so much more than that.”

“So can [you let go] the bad-boy attitude because you are not a bad-boy; so Jah, lehwe talk now,” the judicial officer said.

“Talk ‘bout what?” Jones asked.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

“Whatever you do, you do,” Jones replied.

Attorney-at-law Kim Sealy, who was about to leave the courtroom, was urged to have a chat with Jones, which she did.

When his matter was called again, the Acting Chief Magistrate called him forward close to the bench and chatted with him, the prosecutor and probation officer.

When the tall, athletic-looking Jones returned to the dock, the prosecutor reminded him that he had something to say to the court.

A smiling Jones said, “I would like to thank the court for another chance, another opportunity to show that I could be the youngster that Mr Birch sees in me.”

He was then placed on a bond to keep the peace for two years. If he breaches it, he will forfeit $1,000 forthwith or face three months in prison.

He was also offered a placement at a home and told to “abide by all the rules” and keep from alcohol and drugs.

“Learn to let go of those things that cannot help you. You can be great if you let yourself be,” Birch added.

7 Responses to Jah gives thanks

  1. Rudy Chase
    Rudy Chase April 30, 2016 at 8:18 am

    So sensitive! Thanks for reaching out Mr .Birch

  2. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock April 30, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I thank you mr . justice.

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce April 30, 2016 at 8:54 am

    He got a second chance, do himself proud, respect for others and keep out of trouble.

  4. Icilma Bushell
    Icilma Bushell April 30, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    So happy for Jah

  5. Veronica A. Piggott
    Veronica A. Piggott May 1, 2016 at 4:06 am

    All some of these young people need to know is that someone cares and believes in them and that could be the breaking point

  6. Jacqueline Kim
    Jacqueline Kim May 1, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Something Chris Birch saw, something he cared about and that was “Jah”, a real person. He gave him a chance, we’d all have wanted one once in life and I expect good things. Thanks Chris.

  7. Brerlou King May 2, 2016 at 1:12 pm


    He will indeed be a remarkable young man if he can turn his life around without help. Last week I wrote about two younger men who were able to turn their lives around remarkably after the law intervened and provided them with the structure that was missing in their lives.

    At his age, he might be able to muster the discipline he needs to change his deviant habits, but there is a real risk he won’t be able to do it. Habits are hard to change. There are two approaches which I have seen work at this stage. One is MENTORSHIP. He needs someone who keeps in contact with him on a regular basis, whom he couldn’t bear to disappoint. That’s structure. I’ve seen my father, like many former teachers, provide that for a number of younger men over the years, so I know it works.

    The other is stricture, that is confrontation with the coercive power of the law. He seems to have already decided that he is “a hard seed,” so it is doubtful if coercion would work. So he needs a mentor.


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