Trinidad – Express
THIRTY months hard labour was the sentence imposed on an 18-year-old Laventille man who was caught on camera two weeks ago assaulting and robbing a woman of her gold chain in front of her two-year-old son.
The sentence was imposed on Peter Hunte by Magistrate Cheron Raphael at the Port of Spain Court on Tusday after he admitted to carrying out the act.
In passing sentence, Raphael strongly condemned Hunte’s actions, saying it easily could have resulted in the woman or her son suffering more severe injuries or even death.
“What I saw was a helpless woman being slammed against a wall for her gold chain while her two-year-old child looked on. The child could have run into the road where there were passing cars. A woman or any person should be able to freely walk any street in Trinidad and Tobago and not have to worry about being attacked by people like you,” said the magistrate.
Hunte surrendered to officers of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department (CID) last Monday after the video went viral on social media.
The robbery took place around 3 p.m. two Thursdays ago in Woodbrook. He was first taken to court last Thursday and pleaded guilty to the offence before the matter was adjourned to yesterday for sentencing. The surveillance video was also viewed in court prior to the magistrate passing sentence.
In his mitigation plea, defence attorney Adrian Thompson asked the magistrate to not impose a custodial sentence. He said his client fully cooperated with police by surrendering himself and did not waste the court’s time since he pleaded guilty at the earliest possible occasion.
The attorney said Hunte was unemployed and it was because of this, he decided to carry out the act. In addition to that, Thompson said Hunte was influenced into doing so by someone older than him, who is to yet to be arrested in connection with the incident. He said Hunte was also willing to pay for any medical treatment the woman or her child may require.
But in response, the prosecution submitted that the incident was one that was too prevalent in society. The police prosecutor said to date the woman remains shaken and is now fearful of walking the public street even during daylight hours.
Magistrate Raphael reminded Hunte and his attorney that in December he appeared before her for a similar offence that took place on Christmas Day. Hunte also pleaded guilty to that charge but is yet to be sentenced. Raphael said Hunte should consider himself fortunate since she could not lawfully take that offence into account since sentence had not as yet been passed.
“In December you appeared before me and because of your age, the court ordered a probation officer’s report. You were out on bail and here you are before me again on a similar charge. And your attorney is asking that I impose a non-custodial sentence,” said the magistrate.
The victim was also present in court for the sentencing. She was advised by the magistrate to seek counselling for both herself and her son.