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Court gives troubled teenager second chance

A troubled teenager who admitted a string of offences was spared jail after he showed a desire to turn his life around.

Najiyah Raynor, 18, was given two years' probation after he pleaded guilty in Magistrates' Court to possession of a bladed article.

He was also banned from the roads for 18 months and ordered to complete 150 hours of community service in place of $3,500 in traffic fines.

Raynor, from Southampton, admitted speeding at 99km/h — almost three times the 35km/h speed limit — as well as failure to stop for police, riding an unlicensed and uninsured motorcycle, and riding without a licence.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article and drink-driving.

The court heard that police stopped Raynor near Chaplin Bay in Warwick on suspicion of impaired driving on June 14.

A black folding knife with a four-inch blade fell to the ground as he was interviewed by officers, and he was arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station.

A breath test showed that Raynor had 146.9 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg/100ml.

Raynor admitted the offences on July 10 and a social inquiry report was ordered.

He told the court that he had the knife to protect himself.

But senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said: “If you go certain places where you feel you need to protect yourself, then maybe you don't need to be in those certain places.

He added: “You're young, you've got a long life ahead of you, but you've got to make some better decisions.

“You have started off wrong, but that doesn't mean you can't end up on the right path.”

Kentisha Tweed, for the Crown, told the court that the offences could result in jail time, but added that a “community-based sentence” would be appropriate for Raynor because of his age.

Bruce Swan, for the defence, said that the offences did not happen during his client's “finest moment”, but added that he was keen to turn his life around.

He added that Raynor planned to go to Britain to study underwriting and hoped to one day work for the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

Ashley DaCosta, a probation officer with court services, said that the social inquiry report on Raynor showed that he had “great insight” into his problems.

She added: “He does seem to be serious about getting his life on the right track, pursuing further education and accomplishing his goals with his career choice.

“I think with the proper guidance and supervision he can reach the goals he's hoping to achieve.”

Raynor's mother, who was not identified in court, told Mr Wolffe that it was “heart-wrenching” to have to explain to her son why his actions could have such a negative impact on his life.

But she added that “a life vest has been thrown to him” by the court's willingness to give him a second chance.

She added: “I believe, along with Mr Swan, that this is a last chance for him to look at the choices that he's making and seeing exactly where it is that will lead him.”

Mr Wolffe ordered Raynor to stay away from bad influences and to avoid drugs and alcohol.

He also ordered Raynor to complete the community service hours before his two-year probation ended and to take part in any programmes the Department of Court Services ordered.

Mr Wolffe said: “You cannot keep putting yourself through this, but more importantly you cannot keep putting your mother through this.

“I've dealt with many a young man in this courtroom and I can tell you this here — those guys and girls who are providing you with a bad influence are not going to be around when things go bad.”

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Published August 25, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 25, 2020 at 10:12 am)

Court gives troubled teenager second chance

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