Commonwealth OF Dominica
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
MAGISTERIAL CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 24 OF 1992
Before: The Rt. lion. Sir Vincent Floissac – Chief Justice
The Honorable Sir Justice Singh – Justice of Appeal (Ag)
The Honourable Sir Justice Matthew – Justice of Appeal (Ag)
Appearances: Mr Ronan Dav:id for the Appellant
Mrs Desiree Wilson for the Respondent
1992; September 14
On June 23, 1992 the appellant, who was then just about twenty-one years old, pleaded guilty to a charge of Handling Stolen Gocxls, namely, me gold chain with pendants valued $411 E.C., knowing the same to have been stolen, contrary to Section 23 (1) of ‘Theft Act Cap. 10:33 of the Revised Laws of Dominica 1990 and was sentenced to imprisonment for twelve months by Magistrate Moise.
The appellant now appeals to this Court fran that sentence on the grounds that the sentence was excessive and severe, that the learned Magistrate failed to take into consideration that he was a first offender and more importantly, that the learned Magistrate fa:iled to comply with the provisions of Section 3 of the Criminal
,Justice (Reform) Act cap. 12:35 of the aforementioned laws. In
arguing his appeal, learned Counsel for the appellant concentrated on Section 3 of the Criminal ,Justice (Reform) Act.
Section 3 of the Act provides that where a person who has attained the age of eighteen years but is under the age of twenty three years is convicted in any Court for any offence, the Court, instead of sentencing that person to imprisonment, should deal with him in any other manner prescribed by law. And, Section 3(4) envisages an enquiry by that Court for the purposes of Section lli as to the age of that person .
The record of appeal is silent as to the age of the appellant and, it is evident fr001 the said record, that the learned Magis trate made no enquiry as to the age of the appellant as contem plated by Section 3(4), before he imposed that penalty. This r..ourt was only made aware of the age of the appellant by the production of his birth certi.ficate. I therefore find merit in this ground of appeal. The learned Magistrate having thus failed to canply with the aforesaid law, that is enough ground for this Court to allow this appeal and quash the sentence imposed. However, the conviction remains.
Section 155 of the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure Cap 4:20 of the Revised Laws of Daninica gives power to this Court, on the hearing of appeal fran Magistrates “to make such other order in the rmtter as the Court rmy think just and may by such order, exercise any power which the Magistrate might have exercised”. Utilising this power, I would accordingly determine the appropriate penalty for this offence.
Having regard to the age of the appellant and the fact that this was his first offence, T would regard the imposition of a fine an appropriate penalty. I would accordingly impose a fine on the appellant of $1,000 to be paid within three (3) weeks fran the date of this judgment, in default, imprisonment for a term of six (6) months.
JUSTICE OF APPEAL
SIR VINCENT FLOISSAC
JUSTICE OF APPEAL (AG)