I smoke, but not cigarettes!

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By Jaedee Caines

In Tuesday’s matter of the Chief of Police versus McKinnon Claxton, Magistrate Clarke sentenced the 19-year-old to six months prison time at Her Majesty’s Prison in St. Kitts.

Claxton of Bath Village, Nevis was charged with stealing several items from Jaipaul Mangal on Saturday 28th January 2006.

The stolen goods were listed as a gold wedding band valued at EC$132.50, one EC$299 Nokia cellphone, a wallet valued at EC$5.30, EC$25 in cash and a gold chain costing EC$795.

Mangal; originally of Guyana but who had been living in Nevis for almost six years testified he was on his way home from a night of drinking and smoking cigarettes at a bar.

Upon arriving at Mr. Gajor’s home in Bath Village he felt someone grab him around the neck. He said he recognised the person as the defendant because he saw him face to face from the lights provided at the Round-A-bout bakery and the gas station up the road.

Mangal said he recognised Claxton’s voice from having a conversation with him some time back when Claxton asked him for some cigarettes.

Claxton, who was no stranger to the courtroom pleaded not guilty and claimed officer Carty visited his home on the morning of January 28th and asked him about a robbery that had taken place.

He said there were inconsistencies in Officer Carty and Mr. Mangal’s testimony who said the event took place on January 28th around 1a.m. Claxton said he told Carty he was at a party until 1:30 a.m. on the 27th then went to another event which lasted until 5am then went by another hang out spot where he and his friends ate until approximately 6am.

Claxton, who was near tears said he was constantly being harassed by members of the police force.

He said he has a two year bond over his head and he is far too smart to get into trouble. He said he is working to pay the money he owes and would never rob Mr. Mangal because he is a poor man just like him. Claxton said Mangal was not sure who robbed him because he was unable to see clearly with lighting that was so far away.

He said he and other young men speak the same, all with a heavy voice so Mangal cannot be sure it was he who robbed him.

“You can’t say I asked you for cigarettes cause I never ask you for cigarettes. I don’t even smoke cigarettes. I smoke, but not cigarettes!” Said Claxton.

Magistrate Clarke told the young Claxton his speech was very pronounced as his ‘stammer’ was hard to mistake and she therefore does not believe his story and found him guilty.

In other court matters, Bentley Bissette was charged with driving without due care and attention and ordered to pay EC$1000 in three months or spend one month in prison.

The charge of larceny against Warren Browne alias ‘Rambo’ was dismissed after police officers failed to have witness Ken Evelyn identify him as the young man who had broken into Evelyn’s Pharmacy. The pharmacy is owned by Ken’s brother, Arthur.