High risk!

Melrose, St Thomas resident considered a menace to society

COURT TODAY BLOCKDerrick Ward was sentenced to five more years in jail after confessing that he robbed a man and shot him in his leg at his home on July 10, 2010.

He returned before Justice Randall Worrell for sentencing today after pleading guilty to aggravated robbery and causing serious bodily harm on an earlier occasion.

During her mitigation for Ward, attorney Angella Mitchell-Gittens referred to his presentencing report which had been quite unfavourable.

Residents in his community at Melrose, St Thomas described him as a menace, who gave the area “a bad name”, and someone whom they were uncomfortable being around.

Information from the prison spoke of Ward’s infractions while at HMP Dodds. His family also preferred that he resided elsewhere and had built a house to accommodate him.

The probation officer also deemed him as having a high risk of reoffending.

Today, the lawyer asked Justice Worrell to address those risk factors during Ward’s incarceration, by ordering that steps be taken to improve his literacy, and that he undergoes psychological treatment to address anger management and gets drug counselling.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard Q.C. submitted that Ward was a danger to society and as such society needed to be protected from him. His presentencing report showed that his bad behaviour had continued “even within the prison”, she said.

She also mentioned that Ward’s only mitigating factors were that he had shown some remorse for his actions and had pleaded guilty.

When he addressed the court, Ward told the No. 4 Supreme Court he was sorry but was under the influence of cocaine when he committed the offence.

Ward has several previous convictions.

In passing sentence, Justice Worrell thanked Mitchell-Gittens for not “adding any sort of sweetener to the bad offences”.

He felt that Ward had clearly premeditated his actions on the day he entered Mahendra Ramautar’s home and robbed him of $19 899 in jewellery and cash.

He also considered that Ward had pleaded guilty early and had saved the court “and also saved yourself” some valuable time.

The judge added that even though the court appreciated that his life had not been an easy one, there had been others whose lives had been just as hard and they had not turned to crime.

“It is not an excuse but the Court understands your moving from one children’s home to another,” Worrell remarked.

Starting at 13 years for the aggravated burglary, the judge then discounted three years for Ward’s guilty plea and remorse, plus a further five years for time spent on remand so far.

Ward was convicted, reprimanded and discharged on the count of causing serious bodily harm.

The facts were that the complainant was at home with his girlfriend and nephew when he heard a banging on his door sometime after midnight.

When he peeped out, he saw two men who shouted “This is the police . . . open the door.” The complainant told them they were not policemen and the next thing he heard was his glass door shattering, after which the two men stepped inside and shot him in his right leg.

Holding a gun to his chest, they demanded cash which his girlfriend later handed over.

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