Three Year Sentence For Knife Possession

September 1, 2011

49-year-old Dean Burgess of Pembroke was this morning [Sept.1] sent to prison for three years for possessing a bladed article whose blade exceeded three inches; and for possession of that article within three hundred yards of Prospect Primary School – an increased penalty zone.

Mr Burgess, unrepresented, had pleaded guilty to the charge of possession and had then offered an explanation. To Chief Magistrate Archie Warner, he said that he was carrying the knife because he was taking the knife to his mother’s house.

However, the DPP’s evidence was that on being asked by Police, Mr Burgess had admitted carrying the knife and had said to Police: “They’re going to kill me. They’re going to f— me up.”

Speaking for himself, Mr Burgess told the Magistrate that he was no longer on drugs; was on the Methadone program at MAWI; was regularly employed; had his own apartment; and was “getting his act together.” He insisted that he was “taking the knife to my mother.”

Mr Burgess also said that he had called the Police, that day, because he did fear for his life and that the arrival of the Police was expected. The DPP prosecutor confirmed that Mr Burgess was on record as having called the Police. Mr Burgess said that he had done so in order to get some protection.

Chief Magistrate Archie Warner, having heard the DPP submission and Mr Burgess’ explanation, asked the DPP Prosecutor for their view on sentencing. Having heard this, Magistrate Warner gave his judgment, saying in part: “When Parliament passed the laws on penalties they knew what they were doing.”

He went on: “There is no doubt that they intended severe if not draconian penalties. But these penalties have since been modified by Common Law and the Court of Appeal, to some extent”

Saying that he found no exceptional circumstances, and taking Mr Burgess extensive criminal record into account; but ignoring a nine month suspended sentence that had been imposed in November 2010; Magistrate Warner sentenced Mr Burgess to three years in prison. Two years for possession and one year for possession in an increased penalty zone.

Mr Burgess was clearly upset by the sentence and commented audibly, but he could not be clearly understood. He could be heard still muttering, as he was handcuffed and led way.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Thoughts of a local says:

    WOW, seriously??!! WTF!!

    So what was the DPP’s view on sentencing and why did the magistraite ask for their opinon on it? Does he not know how to do his job?

    • andre says:

      He called the police and was in fear of his life ie 3 years. ……..Ok

  2. MinorMatters says:

    I believe the increasing crime in Bermuda is the result of 1) Perpetrators (of course) and 2) The Courts and Judicial System which are made of mostly non-Bermudians who I feel do NOT have the interest of Bermuda at heart. I believe that they are contributing to the undermining of this Country as they have no vested interest in this place as they can always go back HOME.

    We need to get more trained Bermudians in these roles so that we can better govern our fates. When you read these posts you can see that those who live here WANT more convictions, stricter and harsher penalties and what we get? We get these ridiculously lenient sentencing and in some cases slaps on the wrists.

    Judges and Prosecutors, if you care anything about this country, then do your damn jobs properly.

    FED UP!

  3. Feels a little better says:

    Trust me , our homes are all a lot safer now for the next 3 (?) years.

    There’s not enough paper on this island to print this character’s record .

    • jus sayin says:

      His breaking and entering record that you are alluding to should have nothing to do with his sentencing for carrying a knife…and considering he had already called the police and were expecting them, and he only had the knife for protection until the police got there, I think the sentence was a bit harsh.