Five Years in Prison for HHSS Student

A five year prison sentence has been slapped on 14-year old  Ruth Alisha James, who was convicted for the October 2012 murder of school mate  Alex Gabriel, 17 of Perdmontemps, St. David.

Gabriel, who was a Form Five student at the Happy Hill Secondary School (HHSS), lost his life on the school compound after receiving a single stab wound to the neck with a sharp instrument, following a conflict with James inside one of the classrooms.

James who was thirteen years at the time and a Form One student living in St Paul’s, was initially charged with non- capital murder.

However, the charge was ultimately brought down to a lesser offence of Manslaughter, to which she pleaded guilty on April 12th, 2013.

The presiding High Court Judge, Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findlay on January 27, 2014 sentenced the teenager to a suspended five-year sentence with the provision that should she be convicted of any further offence within that period, she shall serve the full five-year term in prison.

The teenager was also placed on a bond of EC$10, 000 with two sureties to keep the peace and be of good behavior, three years probation, and to reside with her mother and stepfather at Mont Toute.

James also had to undergo anger management counseling, as well as continue her education at Happy Hill Secondary, perform 100 hours of community service among other conditions, and  if she did those things then no convictions would have been recorded against her.

However, when James returned to Court on May 12, Justice Price-Findlay was appalled to note that the convicted teenager did not respect the conditions imposed on her.

The judge noted that the teenaged student did only “five hours of community service” and “breached pretty much every condition” under her January 27th sentencing.

“You have shown that you have absolutely no respect for authority,” the High Court Judge told James who was then ordered to spend the next five years of her teenage life at Her Majesty’s Prison at Richmond Hill, St George.

James would also have to perform some aspects of the original order such as doing community service and to continue with her Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects.

She is also required to meet with her Probation Officer and was told to return before Justice Price-Findlay at an undisclosed date in November so the court can get an updated report on her.

The mother of the convicted teenager along with other family members were seen expressing grief outside the courtroom when the sentence was handed down.

This newspaper understands that James would take her fifteenth birthday on September 30, 2015.

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