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Attorney: Education Ministry to blame for teens taking $30,000

...they were trying to provide for themselves

By \\\\\ Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

TWO Form Six footballers, who admitted to stealing $30,000 from a cinema, were said to be in need of the money to fund their sporting career.

Defence attorney Ainsley Lucky said the Ministry of Education had failed to provide the pupils’ sporting supplies.

“Dr Tim Gopeesingh (Minister of Education) talks the talk but does not walk the talk... The country can spend $78 million to upgrade the Maracas Beach facility and they can’t afford to support the schools,” Lucky said last Wednesday.

The court heard it was around 10 p.m. on July 19 that the two teenagers, who were employed at the cinema, were caught on camera stealing the money from a safe at the manager’s office.

They were arrested the following day and $7,600 was recovered.

With their parents at their side, Lucky said his clients, who are from Claxton Bay, had a future ahead of them in academics and sports. He said they could not afford the items needed and acted on impulse and made the wrong decision to steal.

“Their grades and athletic prowess are admirable. Both were trusted employees and worked on a part-time basis. They needed stuff to see them through their career. At school it is up to the pupils to provide their own sports gear... The ministry is supposed to be looking at that, but pupils are not being helped,” Lucky said.

Magistrate Natalie Diop said they may be young men with potential who have regretted their conduct, but she reminded that when it involves the law, there are consequences.

Police prosecutor Sgt Chanardath Jhilmit said both had clean records and Diop granted each $10,000 bail with one of their parents as their surety.

A probation officer’s report is to be submitted before the teens are sentenced.

They are to return to court next month.

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