Man with history of mental illness sentenced to probation
A man who broke out of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute last month was yesterday sentenced to two years probation.
Shilo Payne, 38, from Sandys, admitted the offence, as well as damaging MWI property and threatening to kill staff at the facility when he appeared in Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
At a later sentencing hearing Payne, who has a history of mental illness, was ordered to participate in a mental health court treatment programme. However, the sentence was revoked when he was considered unsuitable for the programme.
Yesterday, while acknowledging Payne’s illness, prosecutor T’Deana Spencer suggested that he serve between six and eight months behind bars, followed by 18 months probation.
However, Payne’s lawyer Aura Cassidy highlighted that more time behind bars would not benefit her client.
She told Magistrates’ Court: “It is a sad day in this country when the only mental health facility says they cannot safely provide constitutionally-entitled mental healthcare.
“Payne is not a bad person, he is sick, and all the incidents [at MWI] occurred while he was sick. What he needs is rehabilitation services and support from his community.”
She suggested that Payne be sentenced to time already served in prison and two years’ probation.
Richard Horseman, also for Payne, agreed with Ms Cassidy.
“The Crown want to lock up a mentally ill person for 23 hours a day,” he said. “In the United States, that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.”
Senior magistrate Maxanne Anderson ordered that, as part of his probation, Payne stay away from all drugs and alcohol, participate in random screenings, follow a 7pm to 7am curfew and adhere to all treatment recommendations made by court staff.
Ms Anderson also ordered that Payne be given an electronic monitoring device when one becomes available.
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