AN EAST Trinidad man will serve two years, nine months and 24 days for robbing a woman of her jewellery and cellphone back in 2007.
On Tuesday, Kevin Pinder was sentenced by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds who gave him a weighty discount on potential jail time because of his medical condition.
Pinder has high blood pressure and end-stage renal disease. His attorney, Colin Selvon, and the prison’s doctor recommended a non-custodial sentence.
However, the judge said only in exceptional cases can a sentence can be “done away with” because of a medical condition.
In Pinder’s case, she said she took note of the prison commissioner’s assurance that they can deal with his condition.
“I am satisfied prison can treat his condition if he is incarcerated.”
Pinder and another man, Jason Charles, were convicted by a Port of Spain jury of robbery with aggravation. Charles was sentenced on December 14, 2022, but Pinder’s sentencing was deferred to facilitate a report from the prison on his medical condition which the judge referred to during her sentencing.
She also referred to two testimonials from an alderman and an acting corporal of police.
She reprobated the former who also recommended a non-custodial sentence, saying if a victim cannot make such a recommendation, “Why on earth do we believe a politician can make such a recommendation?”
She said she preferred this not to be done in her court. She did consider the prison doctor’s recommendation in the event Pinder experiences complications from his weekly hemodialysis treatments.
In sentencing him, Ramsumair-Hinds began with a sentence of nine years because of the seriousness and prevalence of robbery offences, especially when a firearm is used.
“The most significant mitigating factor is his illness,” she admitted.
From her nine-year starting point, the judge said the cumulative effect of the mitigating factor of his illness and as an act of mercy, Pinder’s sentence should be reduced. She made a downward adjustment of six years, leaving him with three years on his sentence.
“I don't think I have applied such a heavy discount yet but these are exceptional circumstances,” the judge admitted.
She also deducted the 68 days he spent in prison while waiting for bail and after his conviction, leaving home with two years, nine months and 24 days to serve.