In the face of vicious attacks on Social Media outlets, Medical doctor Kenroy Hinds has been forced to call a press conference to clear the air on his role in a prison sentence handed down last week on a homeless man in St. Andrew’s.
Magistrate Nevlyn John sitting at the Grenville Magistrate’s Court sentenced Philus Griffith to eight months in prison for allegedly stealing four Coconuts from the complainant.
The jail sentence has resulted in a barrage of criticisms, innuendos and attacks on both Hinds and the female magistrate.
THE NEW TODAY understands that someone also posted a video on the Internet re-enacting what possibly happened between Dr Hinds and the accused.
Accompanied by his attorney-at-law, Derrick Sylvester, Dr Hinds told reporters last Friday that the postings are taking a toll on his social, professional and family life.
He said Griffith has been a nuisance to his family for five years.
“It’s not the first time that I’ve spoken to him about stealing…he climbs the trees and he takes the produce sometime by the twos and he comes down and goes into the bushes and he fulls a bag then he takes the bag to vendors and he sells the coconuts, sometimes even to restaurant owners – very little cash he would receive for it, which he would use to buy c…e and stuff, “ he remarked.
According to Dr. Hinds, he has caught the homeless man on several occasions stealing his produce and would take it away from him and ask him to leave the property.
He spoke of making numerous complaints to the police on what Griffith was doing to him.
“…I’ll give him money, I’ll give him food and within that same day he is given money and food by the night time he is back in the land”, he said.
“…It has just come to a point when I got tired of it and said, “what … enough of making reports and warnings, it’s time that I take some action because this cannot go on,” he added.
After the verdict was handed down in court, there was a host of negative comments posted on Social Media calling on persons to boycott Dr. Hinds and do not visit his office for medical care.
He described the attacks as damaging to his character and admitted that he has seen a decline in the number of patients coming to his office.
Attorney Sylvester told reporters that his client only did what any other person would have done in the situation.
“Persons concentrate solely on the fact that it’s just four Coconuts.
The issue is not four Coconuts. A judicial officer…she or he has to take all the circumstances into consideration and the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
“…A Judicial Officer has the authority to sentence someone to prison based on the aggravating and the mitigating factors. Dr Hinds did not take the law in his own hands. What he did was what every owner of lands ought to do in the circumstances – he went to the police.
According to Sylvester the accusations leveled against Dr Hinds on the social media network “are unfair”.
“His (Dr. Hinds) practice is being affected, when he travels around the island fingers are being pointed at him and derogatory comments are being made, solely because what was reported was a skewed version of what actually transpired on the day,” he said.
Sylvester noted that the maximum penalty in court for such an offence is three years in prison and a fine of $5000.
In recent months, the courts have been adopting a tough stand on persons engaged in crop theft in the country.
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has established a Praedial Larceny Task Force to try and curb the problem.