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Man fined $2500 for handling stolen goods

- Ordered to compensate VC
Mr. Durante claimed he bought the cell phone but did not get a receipt. Cell phone pictured does not represent the actual one that was stolen
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Akeem Durante, who had pleaded guilty on October 20, 2011 for handling stolen goods, was fined $2500 with an alternative of six months imprisonment when he appeared before Magistrate Tamia Richards at John’s Hole on November 25, 2011.

The stolen item was a cell phone valued $709, which Durante was also ordered to immediately compensate the VC for or spend two months in prison.

Asked if he had the $2500 to pay the court, Durante told the Magistrate he recently did two “jobs” for his uncle but has no idea how much money he was going to be paid. He was given one week to pay the court.

The maximum sentence for such an offense is 5 years but the mitigating factors accounted for a lesser sentencing since the defendant had no previous convictions and the stolen item handled was of low value. It was also noted that Durante pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The court heard that Durante was found with the stolen phone within 24 hours after the burglary was reportedly committed and his explanation was that he bought the phone somewhere near the “whore house” and did not get a receipt for it.

However, Magistrate Richards warned the VC that he was lucky she was not prosecuting the case because she would have treated him as the burglar since he was found with the stolen item in short period from when the crime was allegedly committed. She recalled a popular case in 2004 involving Lorne Parsons, Clinton Hamm and Selena Varlack, where Mr. Parsons was found with a weapon 48 hours after a crime had been committed. It was later found that the same weapon was used to murder Tristan Industrious Todman. The trio was found guilty of the murder and is serving lengthy sentences at Her Majesty’s Prison.

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