A TOBAGO man convicted of robbery with violence in 2010 has managed to have his three-year sentence varied to the two years he has spent in jail.
Stewart, 35, of Patience Hill, was not successful with his appeal on his conviction, Chief Justice Ivor Archie said the court saw no useful purpose in sending him back to prison to serve out the remaining year of his sentence.
However, because Stewart was remanded without bail for a shooting-with-intent matter which comes up for hearing soon, he was not immediately released.
Stewart’s appeal came up before the Chief Justice and Justice of Appeal Prakash Moosai on Friday. Although he did not have an attorney, the judges still heard his complaints about the magistrate’s findings and the sentence imposed on him.
“I found the sentence to be too harsh. I was innocent,” he said, adding that he was unrepresented in court and did not understand the procedure and the law.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Angelica Teelucksingh-Ramoutar, in her submissions, said the sentence was reasonable, since the magistrate would have considered his five previous convictions. She also pointed out that Stewart had some 23 matters in the system, according to his criminal record sheet.
Stewart, in a mitigation plea of sorts, said he had changed his life and had reached the point where he realised that the “crime thing ain’t making no sense.”
He said while in prison he has reached out to young inmates and worked with them, and asked for the opportunity to continue to do so “on the outside.”
“If I go back out. I sure it is positiveness,” he said as he asked for an opportunity to “do something better to make a change.”
Stewart said in the past he was angry with himself and “lacking wisdom,” and this led him to turn to crime. He also said he wanted to help his struggling mother, but had the “wrong concept of helping.”
“She was working hard for me, but I was pulling her down instead of helping her,” he said.
After hearing from both sides, Archie told Stewart the court was willing to take a chance on him and would consider his remorse and desire to reform.
But Stewart was warned by Moosai that his word was his bond and was encouraged to keep his promises.
Stewart had been convicted of robbing Kai Cooper of $1,200 using violence. On June 12, 2010, Cooper went to a restaurant at Patience Road, when Stewart demanded $5 from him. Cooper refused and left and Stewart attacked and robbed him.
Stewart, in his defence, claimed they were playing a card game when they had a misunderstanding and a scuffle and he kicked Cooper in the face.