Robber sent to drug court

A man who robbed a woman to help feed his drug habit and punched her 13-year-old son has expressed remorse for his actions in Magistrates’ Court.

Ernest Smith, 42, added that hearing the facts of the case gave him the push he needed to seek help.

Smith, who was referred to the Drug Treatment Court, said: “I’m truly sorry for the grief that I caused. I want to make amends by getting better.

“Hearing everything that was said today really spoke to me. This help is long overdue.”

Smith, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty on Thursday to robbing a woman with the use of force and to an assault on her son.

The court heard that, on June 16, the family, who cannot be named for legal reasons, visited Blue Hole Hill Park in Hamilton Parish to take photographs.

The family walked towards the caves to take more pictures when they noticed that they were being followed by Smith.

The woman attempted to leave the cave upon noticing the defendant, but he pushed her to the ground and brandished a knife.

She wrestled the knife from Smith and threw it to the mouth of the cave.

The woman removed her wallet from her beach bag and handed it to Smith. The wallet contained $23.

She said: “Here’s my credit cards, money, everything. Just take the wallet and go.”

But Smith began to punch her in the head and she dropped the wallet to the ground.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe heard that the woman’s son tried to pull Smith off her.

But Smith struck the boy in the head and the woman told her son to run for help.

The court also heard that the woman scratched Smith’s face, which assisted in collecting samples for DNA testing.

She then punched Smith off her and ran out of the cave, leaving behind her beach bag and other belongings.

The woman later flagged down a passing motorcyclist, who called the police and helped to reunite her with her son.

Police recognised Smith during a review of CCTV footage in the area and attempted to apprehend him at his last known address in Southampton.

The defendant was not found at the dwelling, but he turned himself in to police on June 28.

Smith first appeared in Magistrates’ Court on July 1 and was charged with robbery, an assault on the boy and a sex assault on the woman.

He pleaded guilty to the robbery, but not guilty to both assaults, and the case was adjourned until August 8.

He later switched to a guilty plea on the assault on the boy.

Prosecutor Kenlyn Swan told The Royal Gazette on Thursday evening that the sex-assault charge would not be pursued.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe referred Smith to Drug Treatment Court on Tuesday and remanded him in custody.

He also ordered a social inquiry report and an assessment for Smith on his risk of drug use.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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