By FARRAH JOHNSON
A 27-year-old man was sentenced to nine months in prison after admitting to defrauding his ex-girlfriend of over $1,000, hacking her social media accounts and damaging her cellphone.
Malik Wright appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney charged with fraud by false pretences, unauthorised access to computer material and damage. He pleaded guilty to all of the charges and was sentenced to nine months in prison for each count, which the magistrate ordered to run concurrently.
During the hearing, Wright admitted to unlawfully accessing the woman’s Whatsapp, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram and iCloud accounts while using a mobile device to download her personal data sometime between May 9 and 11.
He also pleaded guilty to damaging his ex-girlfriend’s iPhone 7 by violently throwing it on the pavement and admitted to using her bank account on May 14 to purchase two pairs of Jordan sneakers, one Logitech speaker system, a mini-fridge, one set of tattoo needles, four sets of piercing needles and one coffee stand, which had a combined value of $1,160.
Prosecutor Kendrick Bauld told the court the complainant came to the Central Detective Unit (CDU) on May 11 to report that she and her ex-boyfriend had gotten into a verbal argument around 3pm on May 9. Sgt Bauld said the woman told police that Wright took her $399 phone and smashed it. She also said her coworker had informed her that someone had published nude pictures of her online on May 11. The complainant said at no point did she give anyone permission to access her phone and filed an official complaint.
Acting on this information, officers conducted an investigation which led to Wright’s arrest. During an interview with police, he denied the allegations. Still, Sgt Bauld said officers checked Wright’s phone and saw that pictures of the complainant were sent from his phone via Whatsapp. He also said the complainant checked her Scotiabank account and noticed that someone had used her account to purchase items from Amazon. Sgt Bauld said the woman got a receipt from the bank that also linked the transactions to her ex-boyfriend. As a result, Wright was cautioned and charged.
During the hearing, the defendant was represented by attorney Samuel Brown. He told the magistrate his client was a promising young man who had made a regrettable mistake. Still, he said he did not believe a custodial sentence was an appropriate punishment. Mr Brown said the incident was a result of a domestic dispute between Wright and his child’s mother. He also argued that in relationships, people can become overwhelmed with emotion and have a lapse of judgement.
Insisting that Wright was “no menace to society,” Mr Brown said his client is an entrepreneur, “one of the best tattoo artists in the country,” and a costume designer for the Roots Junkanoo group. He also said Wright is a father of a young son who needed him to be present to provide and nurture him. Claiming his client had already learned his lesson since he and his family were embarrassed by the police “wanted” posters that were circulating, he told the magistrate Wright would be willing to compensate his ex, as well as attend counselling and participate in community service for the offences.
In response, Magistrate McKinney told the defendant he took his immediate guilty plea and expression of remorse into consideration. Still, he noted that Wright took private property, accessed personal information, downloaded it to his own device and sent it to others. He also said Wright had gone into his ex’s bank account and purchased items offline without her permission.
Stating the court did not consider community service or counselling appropriate for the offences, he sentenced Wright to nine months in prison for each charge and ordered him to compensate his ex the $1,160 he defrauded and the $399 for her broken cellphone. Magistrate McKinney also warned him if he failed to do so, he would spend an additional nine months in prison.