Jovial light thief fined $20,000

A man, who seemed happy throughout his appearance before the court for stealing electricity, was fined $20,000 or 30 days imprisonment.

Garfield Barnett, 36, pleaded guilty, on Thursday, August 17, to the charge of illegally abstracting electricity.

Allegations are that on July 10 at about 4:30 p.m. a team from the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company and police officers were on operations in Wilderness in the parish, when a length of black wire was seen connected to the JPS wire. The wire was traced to a one-room board shop.

The items connected to the electricity were two double plugs, two light bulbs and a radio.

During the search of the premises the police also found a chillum pipe, for which Barnett was also charged.

When Barnett was cautioned in relation to abstracting electricity, he told the police, “mi a beg yuh a chance offica.”

Barnett was in a happy mood while he was in the dock and laughed and smiled during the reading of the allegations.

Presiding judge Yvette Wentworth-Miller asked Barnett the type of work he did, to which he smiled and explained that he didn’t work, but he was a hustler.

Barnett said he “hustled vegetables, including carrots.” He also said that at the shop he operated he sold things including drinks and coconut oil.

Barnett continued to smile and laughed throughout the proceedings, each time he spoke to the judge.

“Did you smoke this morning, sir?” The judge enquired.

In his levity seen earlier, Barnett indicated that he had not. Barnett later said that stealing electricity was his first offence.

The judge later fined Barnett $15,000 or 30 days imprisonment.

Still smiling, he told the judge, “Mi have the fine, Your Honor.”

However, Barnett’s fine was increased to $20,000.

The charge of him having a chillum pipe was then dropped by the crown, due to the increase in the fine.