DH | Court hands down higher sentences in appeal cases

Courthouse of SXM

PHILIPSBURG–Many suspects who are convicted by the Court of First Instance file for appeal in a bid for acquittal or a milder punishment, but this does not always turn out the way they may have planned. During Thursday’s sitting of the Court of Appeals several suspects received higher instead of lesser sentences.

Sheldon Herbert (39), for instance, saw his prison term of 24 months for possession of marijuana and an illegal firearm, and for (attempted) theft with extortion, overturned and increased to 48 months, according to the Solicitor-General’s demand.

The Court of Appeals also held it against the defendant that he had been involved with looting juice, bottles of wine and other commodities in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

“Instead of contributing to rebuild, the defendant chose to make a contribution to the ever-increasing chaos,” the Court stated in the verdict.

In sentencing, the Court took into consideration that Herbert had been previously sentenced for illegal firearm possession, for which he had received a conditional prison sentence, which “apparently” had not deterred him from going wrong once again.

Ricardo Frederick Alexander York (34) had appealed his conviction for attempted robbery and extortion at a store in December 2016, for which the Court of First Instance sentenced him to 18 months. During the appeal hearing, the Solicitor-General called for a prison sentence of 30 months.

The Court of Appeals specifically held it against the defendant that he had been convicted for a similar crime in 2014 for which he had spent a long time in prison. In September 2016 he was released conditionally, but three months later he committed a crime again. Therefore, the Appeals Court annulled the judgment of the Court of First Instance and imposed a prison sentence of 30 months.

Suspect Kevin Chris Le Blanc (29) saw his prison term increased from 18 to 24 months, as the Appeals Court found him guilty of possession of an illegal firearm with ammunition.

In its ruling, the Appellate Court stated that “strict action” must be taken against the uncontrolled possession of firearms. According to his criminal record, Le Blanc was previously irrevocably convicted for similar offences. To the detriment of the suspect, the Court took into account that in the past five years he has been convicted twice for violations of the Firearms Ordinance.

“These convictions apparently did not prevent the suspect from committing another offence,” the Appeals Court stated in the verdict. The Court did not go as far as the Solicitor-General’s demand of 30 months, but sentenced the defendant to 24 months instead.

Bron; Daily Herald

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