(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — A father who found a university student’s phone and gave it to his son was scolded for his behaviour and for getting his son in trouble, after he advertised the phone for sale on Facebook.
Undra Rowe, a chef of a Kingston address, appeared in court on Friday on a charge of receiving stolen property while his 18-year-old son Aaron and his son’s friend, 19-year-old Randine Rhoden, appeared on simple larceny charges.
The court heard that the complainant was at a section of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, on October 18 studying when she discovered her iPhone missing from her bag, which was beside her.
Three days later, the complainant went on Facebook where she saw her phone being advertised for sale. She then contacted the seller and made arrangements to meet him, after informing the police.
A date was scheduled for October 24, but the meeting did not materialise because the seller failed to show up.
As a result, the court heard that the complainant asked her friend to make contact with the seller. A sting operation was consequently set up by the police on October 26 at a plaza in Papine, where the two young men were held.
During further police investigation Undra Rowe was taken into custody and arrested.
On Friday when the men appeared in court, their lawyer Orane Nelson argued that there was no evidence to prove the teenagers had stolen the phone, especially in circumstances where the father had admitted that he was the one who had given the phone to his son.
Judge Crooks then enquired if the men were going to enter a plea but the lawyer indicated that he needed to take further instructions. He was, however, instructed by the judge to speak to his clients so that the matter could be settled, and the matter was stood down.
On resumption, Undra Rowe, before he pleaded guilty, told the court he had found the phone and gave it to his son, but did not give him to sell.
The prosecutor, however, wanted to try the man on the charge of larceny by finding, and told the judge that when he was arrested he said that he found the phone in a taxi but that he did not intend to return it as someone had stolen his son’s phone.
The prosecutor also told the judge that the phone could not be opened as it required the complainant’s fingerprint, and that the father knew the phone was stolen and the son should have questioned why his father gave him a phone that was locked, instead of trying to sell it.
The judge, who indicated that the charge would be hard to prove since they had no video footage, asked the complainant what she wanted, and she said she did not wish for the matter to continue as she just wanted back her phone.
As a result, the judge gave instructions to the prosecutor for no evidence to be offered against all three individuals.
However, before they left he reprimanded the father after asking the teenagers to wait outside.
“The charge of larceny by finding is often an offence of stupidity; the action is stupid,” he told Undra Rowe.
Additionally he said: “You have to set a better example for your son, and your son must have been wondering where you got a phone that was locked to give him.
“Don’t make it happen again, and if I see you or your son again it’s not going to go well for either of you.”
The other two were then recalled into the courtroom where all three apologised to the complainant, after they were ordered by the judge to do so.