Teenager gets community service for backpack theft and stabbing

POSTED: 07/4/13 2:51 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced 16-year-old Dillon Chancellor Wallace to an 8 month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 120 hours of community service for robbing a 15-year-old boy of his backpack near the Melford Hazel Sports Complex on March 20. He also stabbed the boy several times with a pair of scissors in his arm, his shoulder and his back.
Wallace was put under supervision of the Court of Guardianship for the duration of his probation and he will have to comply with treatment by a youth psychiatrist and follow anger management training.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie had demanded a similar punishment; Judge Tamara Tijhuis only took 20 hours off her demand for community service.
The boy got into an argument with his adversary at the basketball field at Melford Hazel. His explanation to the police was that he had a dispute with his victim’s brother; the latter however told police that the only brother he has is living in Guyana.
The defendant denied that he had attacked the other boy; he claimed that his adversary had attacked him with the scissors and that he had taken the weapon away from him. Prosecutor van Nie and Judge Tijhuis became however convinced that the defendant’s story does not hold up, given the position of the two towards each other and the fact that the victim had sustained 2-centimeter deep stab wounds in his back.

The prosecution considered the charges proven. The stolen backpack contained a phone that was later sold to a third party. Prosecutor Van Nie also established that the defendant had stabbed the other boy. “It is not plausible that he took the scissors away from him,” she said.
The prosecutor asked the court to apply adult criminal law to the case. Wallace spent 56 days in pre-trial detention, but he was suspended at the request of the prosecutor’s office to see how he would do outside his cell. “The defendant has an issue with his anger management. There is a lot of anger in Dillon,” the prosecutor concluded.

Attorney Arnout Kraaijeveld noted that his client had confessed to the stabbing but he denied the less serious charge of stealing the backpack. “It is possible that my client was speaking the truth and that in fact he was attacked,” he concluded. The attorney noted that Wallace had withstood the prosecutor’s test of his behavior in freedom well. He asked the court to reconsider the length of the community service and to issue a lower conditional prison sentence.

Judge Tamara Tijhuis considered the charges proven and said that she based her verdict on the complaint filed by the victim. “This was not self defense,” she concluded. The judge did take all the positive elements into account: the fact that the boy follows a program at the Victorious Living Foundation that he is prepared to accept help, that he is in general doing well, that he has the support of his mother and that he has a side job at the Animal Welfare Foundation.

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