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2 years jail for youth who looted TV ‘doesn’t add up’- Hon Maduro-Caines

-said young man was not a menace to society & rehab could have been considered
Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines, right, has publicly questioned the recent sentencing of 26-year-old Shamoii A. Dagou (left), a first time offender, to prison for two years for looting a $286.76 flat screen television in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Shamoii A. Dagou, right, was named MVP of the inaugural Hon. Julian Fraser/Save the Seed National Intermediate Basketball League and twice winner of the championship and was regarded as a role model for young persons. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Shamoii A. Dagou, right, was named MVP of the inaugural Hon. Julian Fraser/Save the Seed National Intermediate Basketball League and twice winner of the championship and was regarded as a role model for young persons. Photo: VINO/File
Basketball talent Shamoii A. Dagou was named MVP of the Eastern Division of the Hon Julian Fraser Save the Seed League on October 31, 2015. Here he receives his MVP trophy from League co-founder Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3). Photo: Provided/File
Basketball talent Shamoii A. Dagou was named MVP of the Eastern Division of the Hon Julian Fraser Save the Seed League on October 31, 2015. Here he receives his MVP trophy from League co-founder Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3). Photo: Provided/File
Justice Ann-Marie Smith, in sentencing Mr Shamoii A. Dagou to serve 26 months in prison, also ordered him to repay Infinite Solutions $286.76, which was considered the value of the television, or serve an additional six months in prison. Photo: Channel5Belize.com
Justice Ann-Marie Smith, in sentencing Mr Shamoii A. Dagou to serve 26 months in prison, also ordered him to repay Infinite Solutions $286.76, which was considered the value of the television, or serve an additional six months in prison. Photo: Channel5Belize.com
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Sixth District Representative Hon Alvera Maduro-Caines is the latest to publicly weigh-in on the recent sentencing of a young man, a first time offender, to prison for two years for looting a $286.76 flat screen television in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Shamoii A. Dagou, 26, a well-known basketball player, was on July 17, 2019 sentenced to 26 months at Her Majesty’s Prison by High Court Judge Ann-Marie Smith.

‘A bit harsh’

An emotional Hon Maduro-Caines, speaking under Public Business at the Fifth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday July 25, 2019 said while she does not condone crime she finds the sentencing of Mr Dagou to be “a bit harsh” considering the fact there were persons who were caught looting after the hurricanes of September 2017 and were given community service.

“So I ask myself, what is the difference between him and the others? Why was his case taken to the High Court when the other cases were held at the Magistrate’s Court? Was he chosen to be an example and why? Because this was a young man who had no previous records at all, good basketball player who has represented us in different basketball tournaments."

Mr Dagou twice won championship rings in the Hon Julian Fraser Save the Seed League and was twice named MVP in the popular basketball tournament. He led Ruff House to the championship in the first ever Hon Fraser league in November 2013 when he was named MVP, reached the final with Splash Brothers in 2015 when he was named the Eastern Division MVP and then won the championship with Splash Brothers in 2016.

Up until his run in with the law in 2017, he was regarded as an outstanding role model for young basketballers with his calm and disciplined personality and was even featured as a ‘Young Professional’ by this news site in November 2015.

According to Hon Maduro-Caines, a much lesser sentence could have been handed down when Mr Dagou’s character was considered.

“And I repeat myself, I am not condoning crime. When you do a crime you should be punished but what about rehab? There are some persons who sometimes may do something just a bit stupid. There are others who may give in to peer pressure, but to put this sentence on somebody who wasn’t a menace to society; why couldn’t rehab be something that could have been implemented instead of sending him to Balsam Ghut for a $300 television.

“Why imposing that he has to pay for the television when he doesn’t have the television, it was confiscated.”

The trial

During the trial of Mr Dagou, it was stated by the Crown that shortly after the looting took place, Deputy Police Commissioner Alwin James was in a patrol unit that stopped a bus in which Mr Dagou was noticed sitting in the front passenger seat.

He was asked where he got the television, to which Mr. Dagou reportedly responded, “Boy, James, I see them taking these thing and I took them.”

It was discovered that the TV had been looted from Infinite Solutions. Coincidentally, Infinite Solutions is owned by one of the co-founders of the Hon Julian Fraser Save the Seed Basketball League, Bishop John I. Cline.

During the sentencing hearing on June 24, 2019, Crown Counsel Tamara Foster had noted that Mr Dagou was a first-time offender and should be considered for rehabilitation. Further, she said Mr Dagou had entered an early guilty plea, had no previous convictions, and had cooperated with the police.

Foster had also stated that the value of the television was low enough for the judge to seek to give Mr Dagou a lesser sentence as would have been meted out in the Magistrates’ Court.

Crown Counsel Foster; however, said Mr Dagou was a messenger for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) at the time and should be held to a higher standard and that the TV stolen was not a necessity.

Justice Smith, in sentencing Mr Dagou to serve 26 months in prison, also ordered him to repay Infinite Solutions $286.76, which was considered the value of the television. He was ordered to pay that sum by January 31, 2020, or serve an additional six months in prison.

Justice Smith said the timing of the offence, which occurred following a natural disaster, aggravated the crime and that Mr Dagou worked as a messenger for the RVIPF at the time of the offence.

She stated that Mr Dagou “must go to prison” as “a custodial sentence is warranted.”

The handling of the case, including the sentencing; however, is not sitting well with Hon Maduro-Caines.

“So I tend to question a lot of things that went down in this young man’s case. Yes, punish him, but some said it doesn’t add up. Some got community service, same thing or worse than what he did and now he has to serve time up in Balsam Ghut.”

‘Irresponsible’

Vocal resident and social commentator Rosemary R. Rosan-Jones aka 'Cindy' was not so diplomatic in her expression of disapproval with the sentencing of Mr Dagou, publically berating Justice Smith in a Thursday July, 25, 2019, social media post.

“Let me just say that the looting that went on in this territory after the hurricanes was deplorable. There is no defense or justification. However, to toss this young man in jail for 2 years for looting a $300 TV is irresponsible of this Judge; especially given the precedent that has been set in some other cases for the same looting during the aftermath of the hurricane,” she said.

Questioning the fairness of the ruling handed down by Justice Smith, Rosan-Jones in her social media post also said, “We have to be extremely careful when we decide to unconscionably, grossly affect the lives and future of our young people in particular. Especially our MEN.”

More rehab sentencing needed- Hon Maduro-Caines

Meanwhile, Hon Maduro-Caines said it “bothers” and “hurts” her when she visits the prison in Balsam Ghut and sees some of the young men “that I have not seen for a while, when I go up there they are there.”

The third term legislator said there are some young men on remand for over a year. “No sight of a trial anywhere to be found so they just sitting there on remand.”

According to Hon Maduro-Caines, there needs to be more “rehab sentencing” for some of society’s younger men who commit certain crimes.

“I think that is some of the things we need to look into as legislators and get some of those things changed. Too many of them are up there, too many of them.”

24 Responses to “2 years jail for youth who looted TV ‘doesn’t add up’- Hon Maduro-Caines”

  • ture (26/07/2019, 12:02) Like (18) Dislike (61) Reply
    I find it disgusting that a sitting Minister supporting a convicted looter, doesn't matter if he stole a TV toilet roll or anything , he stole and looted when the country was at the lowest point. Jail them all
    • Twat (26/07/2019, 13:17) Like (35) Dislike (1) Reply
      You're missing the point numnut!
      • True (26/07/2019, 14:26) Like (2) Dislike (20) Reply
        No I am not, yes the sentence on the murder was way too small that has nothing to do with a Looter being brought up in the house of assembly, let her call the murderer and get an appeal for re sentencing NOTHING to do with looting
    • Amazing! (26/07/2019, 14:47) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
      I find you disgusting that you don't see anything wrong with this sentence, when a admitted murderer was sentenced to six and a half years. You are disgustingly amazing.
    • wize up (26/07/2019, 15:11) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ true: I must agree with you; because the member did not ask why certain members of the royal virgin islands police have not be charge although they can be identified with criminal conduct(looting) after the storm (run talk that)
    • @ture (26/07/2019, 17:41) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      Far as I could recall another sitting Minister supported a convicted drug trafficker not to long ago by allowing him special entrance into the BVI to work. How soon we forget.
    • Just is (29/07/2019, 10:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      I would recommend to send the judge to an urgent checkup at the nearest psychiatric clinic. I suspect tat she lost her sense of proportion and humanity, additionally to the fact that by such an extreme punishment of this your first-offender man, she caused much more damage to the society than that idiot who loot the TV. People who believe that jail is the solution for stumbling and stupid behavior, must go to a doctor to check what’s wrong with their soul and conscience.
  • Outlaw (26/07/2019, 12:31) Like (10) Dislike (23) Reply
    Let me state clearly that thief triable summarily meaning in the Magistrate’s Court carries a maximum sentence of 3 years. Theft triable indictable meaning in the High Court, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. What is your point Mrs. Maduro-Caines. Is it because this is a family member.
    • He is not Family (26/07/2019, 14:39) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply

      She sentenced the murderer to six and a half years. what is the maximum fool. Some people afraid to stand up and shout injustice. 

    • Help (26/07/2019, 15:23) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply

      She is saying that, while the law is important for social order, we cannot at all times do things by the absolute letter of the law.

      According to Mrs. Maduro-Caines, "We have to be extremely careful when we decide to UNCONSCIONABLY, grossly affect the lives and future of our young people in particular. Especially our MEN." UNCONSCIONABLY being the key word. As a judge and any person working in law enforcement, its important to remember that the law should work for us and not against us. I mean was it not made by men for men? We have to take into consideration social, psychological, mental, and sometimes emotional factors in deciding matters involving our citizens. While the law does state the above - the judiciary is an independent body and as such, the judges has discretion to take other factors into consideration, and not only that, but to give a sentence that is fair and proportionate.

      This is not justice. However, its because of this type of mentality, Mrs. Maduro-Caines suggested that it is times for the legislators to amend the law that is causing our people, especially the men to be unfairly oppressed.

  • dude (26/07/2019, 12:36) Like (23) Dislike (4) Reply
    That sentence is not right, fix it he's not a criminal he just made a bad decision in a crisis. months or probabtion not years. How some regular criminals get suspended sentences and some 1st time offenders get 2yrs?? fix it...
    • jeff (26/07/2019, 15:04) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
      You all missing the point he’s a B.V.I. Citizen it clearly tells you they don’t give a DAM about us B.V.I. all the others who shipped home tv , comforters radio, carpets and you name it where are they it just tell you tis who you know who you for get with the program. If they can lockdown the whole B.V.I. they Will do it. God don’t line ugly
  • My Opinion! (26/07/2019, 15:07) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Imagine you had people working at Port Authority who stole which I would consider to be federal packages and mail, and hardback Stinklin whom had items in his home got a mere fine, when he was also highlighted as a thief when working at the post office! And this young man get two years for a television.... a first time offender!!! where is the justice in that????
  • NezRez (26/07/2019, 16:17) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    I say he has no criminal record, has been upstanding all of these years and this was his first offense. He should be made to do community service and pay it back with an apology. A 2 year sentence for this first time offender is too harsh and can ruin him. Laws are in place for a reason, but the crime does not always fit the time.
    • VIlander (26/07/2019, 20:57) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      The point of it is clearly to ruin him and make him an example that they are tough on non-criminals but the seasoned criminals get a pass...he shouldn't even need to appeal let him out and give him a fine & community service.

      But they see he has great potential and is a young community leader in the making, everyone has done a minor offense before whether caught or not and this is wrong and will only make crime worse and the courts look bad and lose respect of the people.

      Governor please intervene and save the community that you will lose b/c of this bad decision.
  • Loot jr (27/07/2019, 00:04) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply

    Lock me up for looting food and ice to feed my family during irma days ayo muda sk#$%&. Strupzz. He didn’t deserve this. He was a good guy.

  • enough (27/07/2019, 06:09) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Okay can we callback all those persons that got community service, including the Pastor!
  • Unbelievable (27/07/2019, 08:20) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

    Seems like the judicial system is unfair and is set up to protect some people while destroying others. People in glass houses should not be allowed to through stones.

  • hi (27/07/2019, 14:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    He lucky he's not 30yrs because she sentence him according to his age. No one cares for our young men anymore.
  • looting PASTOR GETSSSSSSSSSSS (27/07/2019, 21:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    NOTHING, wow!!!!
  • where is? (28/07/2019, 08:05) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What part did pastor clyne the owner of the property played. His voice in this matter prior to the trial would have had some weight...
  • l (29/07/2019, 09:09) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    He is not a youth.
  • Gianii (30/07/2019, 10:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where is Hon. Caines on fighting crime.
  • real g (30/07/2019, 15:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So the people who stole the Pier Park Money the High School money..... should just get the death sentence then??


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