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Alleged Tobacco Wharf intruder pleads not guilty to burglary

Tevon Stapleton pleaded not guilty to burglary when he appeared before the Magistrate's Court on April 23, 2013. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Tevon Stapleton 19, pleaded not guilty to the charge of burglary when he appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on April 23, 2013.

The defendant, who was unrepresented at his appearance, is accused of breaking into an apartment shared by two persons on February 3, 2013 and allegedly stealing items that included an iPhone 3, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy 3, $3,500, two checks valued at $2000 each, an iPad, travellers cheques valued at $1,500, one wallet with $300 in addition to $500 cash.

Crown Counsel Leslie Ann Faulkner, in reading the allegations, said on February 2, 2013 the Virtual Complainants (VCs), who reside at Tobacco Wharf, were at home. It was stated that at about 10:30P.M. that night the female VC was reconciling cash and cheques from a charter they had earlier that day.

After the VC was finished reconciling, she proceeded to her bed and began reading a book on her iPad. At about 11:30 P.M. she reportedly rose to ensure all doors and windows were secured and placed her iPad down on a table beside her and returned to bed.

On February 3, 2013 at 4 A.M. the VC awoke but didn’t get out of bed. She felt a bit uneasy when she observed a glare of light. She then looked around the bedroom and allegedly observed a person she described as the "TICO delivery guy" searching through her dresser with her head phone in one of his hands.

The complainant allegedly reported that she observed in the other hand, the defendant had a small flash light. The VC then rose out of bed and a stare was exchanged between herself and the intruder for a moment before she began screaming.

The VC’s scream reportedly caused the intruder to run out of the bedroom. It was stated that he pulled the bedroom door behind him which caused the glass to shatter.

The other VC attempted to chase after the defendant at this point but it was noted that he was unsuccessful in his pursuit. The male VC noticed that his mobile phone was missing when he went to call the police. The VCs reporteldy had to go over to their landlady to call the police.

When the police arrived a check was made and the stolen items were recorded. It was also observed that two louver window panes were removed and placed in the living room. The court heard that the police lifted latent prints from those windows.

Investigations were conducted and acting upon information, Stapleton was invited to the police station and the allegations were put to him. He was also asked to provide elimination prints, which he allegedly did. The prints were later examined and found to be a match with those retrieved from the scene.

When the defendant told the court that he intended to represent himself in his trial, Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards sought to explain the evidence the Crown announced against him.

Magistrate Richards told the defendant that no two persons have the same print even if they are twins. She also noted that the police said that the finger print was matched based on 16 characteristics; and explained that in other jurisdictions as little as four characteristic matches are considered conclusive.

“I say all of that to let you know the type of evidence they have against you; you pleaded not guilty that’s your right.”

The defendant was offered signed bail in the sum of $70,000 with two sureties. He is also required to surrender his travel documents.

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