The .38 revolver found in Leandro Renaldo Dominic Pope’s bedroom at Lower Holder’s Hill, St James was the same one used in a shooting incident in that parish three years ago.
He pleaded guilty in the High Court yesterday to having that illegal gun and 18 rounds of ammunition.
Today he admitted to using the gun when he was not the holder of a valid licence. He also pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously wounding Kemal Haynes as well as unlawfully and maliciously shooting at Akil Scott which placed him in danger of death or serious bodily harm.
Haynes and Scott were liming in an area known as the block in Durrants Village, St James on March 2, 2017. While there Haynes was informed by other persons that a man going by the name Scary and some other men were searching for him saying that he had “carry away” their weed.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Allison Seale said the two however continued liming and were discussing football when Haynes suddenly felt an object on his back and then a loud explosion. When he looked back he recognised Pope with a .38 in his hand. On seeing that he fled through a nearby track while Scott did the same. While running Haynes, who said he felt pain and saw blood in the area of his abdomen, also revealed to police that he heard about 20 shots fired. He was able to get to safety and was taken to hospital while Scott escaped unscathed.
Police responded. As a result of the investigation a warrant was executed at Pope’s residence were the illegal weapon and ammunition were discovered. When questioned under caution and told of his rights, he responded: “Don’t worry with the lawyer now, you can go ahead.”
The accused was then informed about the report made by Haynes. “Yes I is who shoot he,” Pope is recorded as saying.
He was also told that Scott had reported that he had been shot at causing him to fear for his life. “I don’t know who he is.” He also admitted to police that he discharged the weapon in a public place but declined to give a written statement.
The deputy DPP said when police continued questioning the accused he claimed he did not have an accomplice and said Haynes would know why he shot at him. “He disrespect me. He tief $600.”
Police then transported him to the scene of the crime where he stated: “I come up the gap, Kemal was sitting down and he was backing me and I shoot he and he run and I leave bout dey.”
When they went back to the police station he was shown the gun found at his residence. “Yes that is de gun here that I shoot Kemal with.”
Seale said the cartridges and metal found at the scene were examined by a firearms expert and the evidence clearly showed that two firearms were used on to day of the incident.
Following those facts Pope asked for Haynes’ medical report. The deputy DPP said the document would be produced at the next sitting .
And although he pleaded guilty Pope went on to point out that Scott had never called him by name. The deputy DPP gave the undertaking that he would look at the evidence again since Pope was self represented and “I will always be fair to anyone and in particular persons who are self represented since they do not have the benefit of trained legal counsel.”
Pope then went on the question other aspects. However, Seale made it clear that he would not “whittle away” the charges before the court and was ready to go to trial if Pope was not in agreement with the facts presented.
“I will not allow people to give me a half a plea that we are not sure about. I have never in my career forced anybody into a plea, they can plead not guilty. I like to go to trial in any event . . . and let the jury decide.
“I am not going to deal with that. I don’t play those games and people must understand me well when I come into these courts. He either . . . accepts the facts or let us go to trial,” the island’s deputy DPP stated.
Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell agreed and reminded Pope of the charges that he had admitted to and asked him his position on them.
Pope replied: “I plead guilty.”
The High Court judge replied: “No if, buts or ands, you sure in your belly?” Pope responded: “ I sure.”
A victim impact statement was then ordered as a presentencing report is already on file for the convicted man.
He returns before the No. 4 Supreme Court on March 19 when the medical report is expected to be submitted into evidence and the sentencing phase of the case will continue.