By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Cecil Kennard does not believe that the recent sentencing of two youths to 150 hours of Community service should go unchallenged, given the fact that they were charged with the offence of armed robbery.
Magistrate Judy Latchman ordered that 20 – year – old Darien Best and 21 – year – old Joel De Mendonca to perform six hours of community service for the next twenty-five Mondays along with a maximum period of counselling, as deemed fit by a probation officer.
De Mendonca was instructed to perform his community service at the National Library, while Best will be doing his at the Palms.
Failure to complete the sentences will result in them being imprisoned for 48 months. The two youngsters were charged and found guilty of robbing Golyn and Sons Fashion, on Regent Street, of a quantity of cell phones worth $8,968,000 on July 25, 2014.
The sentencing has already sparked a debate on social media with some persons questioning the rationale behind such a move, given that the charge is a serious one.
It should be noted that the maximum penalty for such an offence is life imprisonment. Many believe that the Magistrate passed down a light sentence to the duo, when it is known that she has imposed harsher sentences for similar offences.
Kennard, in an invited comment to iNews, made it clear that the Police Prosecutors should not accept this sentencing and should approach their seniors and the Director of Public Prosecutions to challenge it.
“The Prosecutors should speak to their seniors and their senior should speak to the DPP…that’s the best course,” said Kennard.
He further noted, “that is totally wrong” referring to the sentence handed to the two University of Guyana students.
On social media Best said that “I was honestly surprised at the sentence.” In July, Magistrate Latchman sentenced 19-year-old Ron Collins to 56 months in prison after he pleaded not guilty to armed robbery of a pair of sunglasses and a Blackberry smartphone collectively valued $166,000.