A 19-YEAR-OLD man who twice breached a court order banning him from pubs and bars has been sentenced to 70 hours of community service – despite claiming that he cannot do it.
Sean Brandon de la Haye was jailed for 12 weeks last August after admitting fighting, stealing, being drunk and disorderly, smashing a shop window and travelling in a stolen car. At that time he asked to be sent to prison rather than ordered to carry out community service.
But when he appeared again in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday he was not granted an alternative to a community-based punishment – after the Magistrate, Bridget Shaw, said she did not accept his reasons for refusing it.
At his previous sentencing in August, de la Haye had also been banned from pubs, clubs and hotels for four months.
But St Helier Centenier Paul Huelin told the court that he had defied the ban twice.
He had been spotted by an off-duty police officer in Sugareef bar and restaurant in St Brelade on the evening of 7 October and was arrested in St James Wine Bar in St Helier on 12 November.
‘He was drunk and unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred but he remained compliant,’ Centenier Huelin said.
Advocate Mark Boothman, defending, said his client had been ‘in confusion’ about the terms of his ban but added: ‘He accepts that this is no excuse and he should have sought clarification.
‘He can only apologise for having breached the order.
‘He was not misbehaving or committing other offences in the bars, and after the second time he has behaved impeccably.’
Advocate Boothman also told the court that de la Haye suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, adding: ‘He had a very difficult childhood, where he witnessed things no child should have to witness. He is endeavouring to turn his life around.’
The court heard that at his original sentencing in August, de la Haye had opted for prison rather than community service because he believed ‘his lifestyle would make him unable to comply properly with a community service order’.
Advocate Boothman also argued against prison, explaining that de la Haye had borrowed money from his grandmother to pay fines imposed for previous offences, but now had a steady job.
‘He wants to continue earning in order to pay that money back,’ the advocate said.
De la Haye said he felt he would still be incapable of completing a community service order, but Mrs Shaw told him: ‘It seems to me this is a refusal to do community service. If he can work hard in paid employment, I find it difficult to understand why he can’t work hard in unpaid employment.’
She imposed 50 hours of community service for the first breach and 70 hours for the second, with the two to run concurrently, and told de la Haye: ‘You have to take this community service seriously.’