PHILIPSBURG – Oswald Dwayne Sherwood had a prominent presence on the docket of Wednesday’s court session. His name appeared nine times – four times for petty crimes like theft, ill-treatment and trespassing, and five times for demands to execute previous conditional sentences. The court was mild and sentenced the 33-year old to the 242 days that were outstanding from previous crimes.
The court saw “no added value” in punishing Sherwood for his more recent criminal activities as well and left it at an unconditional prison sentence of 242 days.
The court had postponed an earlier court hearing at the request of Sherwood’s attorney Geert Hatzmann who requested an evaluation of his client by the probation office.
That report brought little in favor of the defendant: he does not take responsibility for his drug and alcohol use, he does not want to talk about his crimes, he does not want to go to turning Point for treatment and he does have a network of family and friends to fall back on. The probation office noted that there is a risk Sherwood will commit more crimes and that giving him a fine is useless because the man is unable to pay.
The public prosecutor demanded a 6-month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation, and the execution of the earlier conditional sentences – totaling 242 days. The prosecutor also demanded a ban on the use of alcohol and drugs and mandatory treatment at Turning Point.
Attorney Geert Hatzmann hammered on the lack of a network for his client and said that community service would bring some structure to his days. “Don’t lock him up for eight months. Community service of 240 hours s a possibility; it gives structure. If he screws that up he does not have to come back to me.”
The judge briefly considered a suspension of Sherwood’s incarceration under strict conditions, but the public prosecutor did not support that idea.
“If he is released this afternoon he will begin to commit new crimes. Prison has an additional advantage; he could become a teetotaler there because access to drugs and alcohol is complicated.”
Sherwood said that he would go to Turning Point for treatment if the judge so ordered.
But the court did not buy that story. “Here you are saying that you will go to Turning Point and that you will stay away from alcohol and drugs. I find it hard to believe that this is genuine. I want to give you a chance, but you will first have to lie in your bed the way you made it.”
And so, the court sentenced Sherwood to 242 days of imprisonment and gave him a pardon for the new crimes. “This way you will stay away from drugs and alcohol while the community is protected,” the judge said.