Court: “I Have No Money, I’ll Do The Time”

August 7, 2012

Keith Simmons, 45, appeared in Magistrates Court this morning’s [Aug 7] and told Magistrate Tyrone Chin that he could not pay an old fine of $1,250 from 2008.

Mr Simmons told the Magistrate: “No sense ducking and ducking from something I cannot pay. I’ll do the time. I have no money. Might as well send me up Westgate.”

The Magistrate suggested that Mr Simmons could use help from the free BARC referral process but Mr Simmons refused this offer. Asked if he was working, Mr Simmons told the Magistrate that he had been incarcerated for part of 2008 and was currently finding it difficult to pick up the kind of work that he had been doing.

Asked about that, Mr Simmons said that he did work with “asbestos removal, painting, and stuff…” and that this kind of work had dried up. He said: “Nobody’s putting up big buildings anymore.”

He also told the Magistrate that a recent medical emergency amongst his family had stretched family finances and that he did not expect any help from that quarter.

The Magistrate said that his options were limited and followed this comment by ordering that Mr Simmons must serve 100 days in default.

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Comments (31)

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  1. Real Talk says:

    So Bermuda will pay approx 21,000 over the next 100 days to house, clothe and supervise this man for failing to pay a $1500.

    SMDH. And we wonder why we can’t get a balanced budget!?

    Surely some other alternative could be found…

    Hell, there’s a stretch of Palmetto Road looking particularly garbage-strewn – perhaps his services could have been employed there….


    • Split milk says:


    • Local says:

      Seems crazy.

    • swing voter says:

      so he’ll just go and lay off for a few months….instead of being on some kind of work detail. Prison time is such a joke. Shelter, food, entertainment,drugs and even sex if you want it. SMH

    • your joking says:

      Agreed as well

    • andre says:

      Think we all agree on this one.

  2. Unbelievable says:

    So explain to me again how we benefit…..

    $219.18 per day to house a prisoner.
    $12.50 per day fine
    Debit accumulated of $206.68 per day or $20,668.00 overruns not including the court costs, police costs etc.
    Well fawk me…..

  3. Kathy says:

    Sounds to me like Westgate is a nice option for those that can’t pay their rent/food, etc. They get everything up there! Is there a/c in Westgate?

  4. REFUND says:

    Who told the judge that I had money to pay his share our of 65,000 Bermudians….Im just as broke as he is…he should have been assigned a free public job where someone is needed…like Parks. Im sure they are busy with holiday work, or what about the Trash trusck. they may need some extra hands….but to send him in jail….not worth my pockets.

  5. navin Johnson says:

    Keith…Jinx? they prefer Westgate when begging dries up…no interest in any form of work….

  6. Local says:

    Doesn’t help whoever he owes the money to…….

    • the truth shall set you free says:

      He owes the money to Government, it’s an old fine. Looking at the cost/benefit analysis of housing him up Westgate versus the value of his fine, it would have been more sensible to assign him to some community projects/hustle work as a means to ‘pay’ off the fine. The current reality is they’ve sent this man to jail, at expense to the taxpayer, and the Government still won’t have their money at the end of the day. Surely there are things that can be done within the community that have a greater ‘value’ than $1200.

  7. Amazed says:

    This sentence for failing to pay does not make any sense. What happened to teh Hustle Truck, or the alternatives to incarceration program!

    • Truth (Original) says:

      Budget cuts. All of the social programs have had significant funding reductions. No word from the PLP on that fact though..

  8. porkie says:

    Why is it always the same when someone gets locked up nowadays ? The complaints about how much it costs to house the crook compared to the extent of the crime ?

    I will give him credit for being bonest about not having the money , but that only probably applied to the day he was in court. The outstanding fine dated back to 2008 and if he had any respect for the courts he would have paid it off a long time ago. What’s he been surviving off of for the last 4 years , air ? ? He never had any intention of paying the fine and there’s tons more out there like him who know how to manipulate the system for their benefit.

    I don’t disagree that it is expensive to house inmates here but are we simply supposed to throw our hands up in the air everytime someone gets caught breaking the law and claim the ‘it isn’t worth it’ to lock ‘em up ?
    Where is the incentive for any lawful behaviour ? You break the law , you suffer the consequences !

    Maybe we need to figure out a way to get the yearly costs down from $80,000 to something like $10,000 per prisoner . Bet they’d all be paying their fines promptly and avoiding all forms of trouble otherwise. But until then , do we just say it’s too expensive to lock people up and let them do what they want while the rest of us suffer their actions ?

    • The Ridiculist says:

      Agreed get over yourselves. Makes me sick when i keep hearing my money. It’s the government’s money. You pay it to them. Its certainly is not optional, neither are you getting it back. Cause it is going to be many more flocking right behind him.

      • Politely Pompous says:

        @The Ridiculist: People like you will only be happy when you see all of us locked up.

        The ‘Government’ is us, dimwad. This situation is ridiculous and makes no sense…then people like you will whine that the ‘Government’ has no money. Whatever happened to Alternatives to Incarceration? It makes ZERO sense to put a man in prison for 100 days and pay thousands of dollars out of the public purse for a $1,250 fine that was supposed to go in the public purse. I understand the whole contempt of court thing, but still…this is so stupid. No wonder the country is broke.

        • The Ridiculist says:

          @ political pompous cleary your name calling and your logical solutions are directed at the wrong people. Your political leaders have been wasting your money for years and nobody has $hit to say. Go figure. This to shall fall on deaf ears. So suck this up to. Be about it or shut up with it. Got it. Get it.

    • Real Talk (original) says:

      Um. Because it makes NO sense to lock somebody up for $20,000 for a $1500 fine… particularly in these economic times we need to be practical and able to think outside the box and come up with other more practical solutions. Guess what… after 100 days in prison the $1500 fine STILL won’t be paid and the taxpayer (read: you and me) will be $21,500 in the hole. How about using the prisoners and those owing fines to provide maintenance services throughout the island? Nobody is suggesting anybody get off scot free, just a more sensible solution. This is not sensible.

    • JamudiCan says:

      All this tunnel vision/on trackminds…What ever happened to community service.Volunteer work…help paint the bus stops,pick up trash…go to the regiment….anything but make tax payers pay 20 times the amount they are owed…for all the brains u expect these magistrate/ppl in civil positions to have, they make some stupid rediculous decisions!!!
      The are JOKERSSS…

      • porkie says:

        While I agree that community service as an excellent way of paying back for a small crime instead of ‘hard time’ the problem is , how do we ensure that the time was served and we got value for money ?

        Over the years I’ve spoken to a few of these ‘system manipulators’ who ended up with community service sentences and they proudly admit that all they did was cool out behind the building they were supposed to be working on , doing nothing , as the clock ticked away towards the end of their ‘time penalty’ .

  9. squeezeme! says:

    I can just imagine Westgate is going to have to take reservations in the near future because a lot of people don’t have enough money to pay for crimes.. We need to relook at why we have certain laws and how much sense they make.. trying to get blood out of a stone is impossible.. Where is the ecomonic equality in this country when certain people can get locked up for not have disposable cash. tsk! tsk! Bermuda where is your humanitarian spirit, are you saving it for Xmas??

    • porkie says:

      If the stone (crook) has no (blood) money to ‘pay for their crime’ then maybe they shouldn’t have done it in the first place .

      They’re not getting locked up for not having money , they’re getting locked up for commiting a crime , getting fined and then walking out of court knowing full well that they have no intentions of paying .They’re manipulating the system and us law abiding people. Got it , or are you blinded by your false humanitarianism ?

    • Politely Pompous says:

      If someone has committed a crime, they should get sent to prison from the get-go. If they’ve only been fined, then they probably haven’t done anything that serious. I don’t believe people should get a free pass for committing crime, thus I take exception to your first sentence. If you don’t want to go to jail, it’s simple-don’t commit crime. However, people can be fined for a multitude of things such as traffic offences-if those ones can’t afford their fine, I don’t think they should go to prison. However, for more serious offences, those people get no sympathy from me-they deserve to go to prison right from the start as far as I’m concerned.

  10. rob says:

    Bermuda is full of crooks !! Its like Australia ! But Aussie crooks help build the country not tear it down !

  11. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse needs a good painting . He paints , give him the job ..

  12. owner4comment says:

    For one the government takes far 2 much advantage of us the people fines are farrrrrrrrr 2 high in Bermuda I don’t care if we make more money per capita then most places because the living situation for many is dyer even with the hightened pay compared 2 the rest of the world and 2 lock this dude up pisses me off just another waste of the public purse, if I was the judge I’d had let him go if he hadn’t been in trouble since then I would have overlooked the comtempt of court 4 failing 2 pay and just warned him severely because times are hard!!! But @ the end of the day it is what it is not what it should B!!

  13. What People Do For Money says:

    They better make more room up there because there are many people who are struggling to pay anything these days these magistrates and BCA through threats of intimidation think that the folks who owe $ are gonna run to some relative or friend for help. But the relative or friend is struggling also. Its getting harder and harder every day..This does not describe the majority of situation’s but it soon maybe.

  14. Scott says:

    I think peoples arguements about cost vs fine are misdirected..

    Fines are not taxes…they are not there simply to pay govt. It is mainly a punishment. If he cant do one punishment then he does another…sucks for us but thats life

    • The truth shall set you free says:

      True but ‘punishment’ can take the form of community services that actually ‘adds’ value to the community instead of draining taxpayer funds. At the end of this, the Government still won’t have its money and the taxpayer will have been charged to house him in Westgate for 100 days. Exactly who does this benefit?

  15. me says:

    can i get my reund in the mail Keith broke old man!