$15 000 Puma penalty
He has shelved plans to open a third store; he is in debt to the tune of $143 000, and now Grenville Ricardo Delpeache owes the court $12 000 after he paid $3 000 into the District “A” Traffic Court yesterday.
Delpeache, of Passage Gardens, Passage Road, St Michael, earned himself the dubious distinction, in February this year, of being the first man to be convicted for selling fake gear – knock-off Puma shoes and slippers, including the popular Rihanna line, as well as haversacks – at his Ouch boutique in Swan Street, last year.
Magistrate Graveney Bannister fined him $5 000 for three offences ($15 000 in total); ordered that $3 000 on the first charge be paid forthwith with an alternative of six months in prison and told him to pay the remaining $12 000 by December 21 or spend six months in prison. The forthwith fine was paid and Delpeache left through the rear door of the District “A” Magistrates’ Court in an attempt to evade the waiting photographers.
The director had pleaded not guilty to the charge that with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to the registered owner of the Puma trademark, and without the consent of the owner of the Puma trademark, he sold one pair of Puma Fenty Creepers sneakers, on May 3, last year, which bore a sign identical to and which was likely to be taken for the Puma registered trademark.
He was also charged with exposing 17 pairs of slippers, seven single shoes (those placed on display) and 31 haversacks, which bore a sign identical to and which was likely to be taken for the Puma registered trademark on May 29, 2017, and that he did have those items in his possession, custody or control in the course of business on the same date.
In addition, he pleaded not guilty to the charge that with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to the registered owner of the Puma trademark, and without the consent of the owner of the Puma trademark, he sold a pair of Puma Fenty slippers by Rihanna on May 13. He was subsequently convicted, on February 20, this year, of the charges.
His defence team of Satcha Kissoon and Romain Marshall appealed the convictions in March but no date has yet been set for its hearing.
Magistrate Bannister told the store owner the matter had far reaching ramifications for Barbados’ reputation.
“This is more than just Delpeache, a man selling fake items on Swan Street,” the magistrate noted.
The magistrate, who had earlier perused Delpeache’s pre-sentencing report, said nowhere in the report did it say that Delpeache was a struggling businessman.
This was the claim put forward by attorney Kissoon who, in mitigation, said as a result of the conviction, his bank had closed Delpeache’s account; he was now in $100 000 debt on loans and credit cards and owed $43 000 in arrears for rent.
In addition Delpeache’s travel visa had also been revoked, the attorney said as he urged the court to “focus on Mr Delpeache and not to focus on the fact that this was the first time for such a charge”.
“He feels he has been deceived because he purchased the items from reputable sellers based on the representations made by third parties as to the quality of these goods,” the attorney said.
“We should not treat him as the example by which we should sentence all others,” Kissoon said, adding that Delpeache was “nothing less than an honourable businessman”.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman, who prosecuted the matter, said Delpeache’s actions affected the integrity of Puma and its brand and would have caused them to come under scrutiny.
He said while Delpeache was a first-time offender, the court still had to consider the nature of the charges and the penalties.
The fake items were later ordered to be destroyed by the court. (HLE)