Justice Pamela Beckles has sentenced St Lucy resident Shakiel Akeem Connell to time in prison for a violent attack and gun crimes.
Connell, otherwise known as Shaq, of Fryers Well in Checker Hall, was found guilty of causing serious bodily harm to Pedro Benn with intent to maim, disfigure or disable him on October 19, 2013.
Benn was at a karaoke session at Half Moon Fort, St Lucy that evening and was walking through the crowd to claim a dance from a woman after getting a standing ovation for his performance, when he accidentally butted shoulders with a man whom he later identified as Connell. The situation deteriorated from there with the accused cuffing and kicking Benn in the head, fracturing his jaw.
In handing down sentence in the No. 5 Supreme Court, Justice Beckles said the court viewed the offence as very serious and that only a custodial sentence would suffice.
After considering the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case, the judge began with a starting sentence of three years in prison. She then credited him with the nine days already spent on remand leaving him with two years, 356 days remaining to serve at HMP Dodds. The case was prosecuted by Senior Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney.
In the other cases, prosecuted by Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Blackman, Connell pleaded guilty to having possession of a .22 and .38 revolver pistol as well as nine rounds of ammunition on March 14, 2015 without valid licences.
Police were on patrol in Oistins when they inspected a vehicle that Connell and three other people had previously disembarked, discovering it had no registration disc.
The men returned shortly after midnight and as they attempted to enter the vehicle the officers announced their presence. Connell fled, was pursued, caught and searched. One firearm was found in his underwear while another gun was found in the passenger seat behind the driver where Connell was sitting.
In a statement, the accused explained that he had armed himself with a gun after being involved in a fight with another man.
Making reference to the proliferation of firearms in society, Justice Beckles went on to outline the aggravated features in the case including that Connell had a loaded gun in a public place and was already on bail.
She then began with a ten-year starting point for the weapons offences. But Connell only has two years and seven days on each firearm offence and a year remaining on the ammunition charge after the High Court judge took several considerations into account, including his guilty plea – which allowed him a one- third discount – and his 1,453 days already spent on remand. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Justice Beckles also advised Connell to enroll in any available programmes at the prison that will afford him a skill with which he can acquire gainful employment on his release from prison.