Young Jahzeel Akeem Ward, who was found by psychologists to be at times functioning at the level of an eight-year-old, has 698 more days to serve in prison for having an illegal pipe gun in his possession on January 26, 2019
That’s the time remaining on his eight-year sentence imposed on him today. While in prison, he will also continue to receive mental health treatment.
In handing down the ruling today Justice Randall Worrell ordered that the 20-year-old, of No. 22 Apes Hill, Orange Hill, St James also undergo remedial education and anger management classes at the penal institution.
The judge, who presides in the No. 2 Supreme Court, made it clear that it was up Ward to make good use of that time.
The convict, who was described as having a troubling upbringing, was discovered with the gun concealed in the seat of his pants at Endeavour Main Road in his community. He had told police on his arrest that he had the weapon because “these men won’t stop coming round me.”
However Justice Worrell said the mitigating factors surrounding the offence was that Ward did not use the firearm and the fact that it had no ammunition. Having the illegal gun was the aggravating feature.
Given those circumstances Worrell said the eight-year starting sentence would be decreased by a year leaving Ward with seven years.
He also gave the convict additional credit since the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating features. The judge pointed to this youth and his clean record among other factors.
“You suffer from some great degree of dysfunction; you have incomplete academic instruction; you are intellectually challenged and all of these factors that are set out in your pre-sentencing report clearly indicate to the court that you have had issues and troubles. [You are] intellectually challenged to the point that you operated, at that point, no more academically than an eight-year-old, clearly someone in need of remedial education.
“This court is of the opinion that the psychological and the psychiatric issues which you have – more so psychological are things that the court has to take into consideration [as well as] the fact that you have been assessed as having to continue dealing with the mental health clinic at the prison,” Worrell explained.
But the judicial officer made it clear that Ward, “clearly seemed to be different – but I am saying this here – do not think that anyone who has possession of a firearm maybe be treated in the way in which you are treated.”
“You have psychological issues, you have intellectual capacity issues; you function as they say at that particular point in time as an eight-year-old; you are one who is in dire need of remedial education and you have to undergo that in order for you to be placed in a better position as life goes on,” the judge said as he credited Ward with a two-year deduction based on those circumstances leaving him with five years or 1 825 days.
From that time the convict was then given a one third discount for his guilty plea and credited for the 519 days that he had already spent on remand. Those deductions left him with 698 more days to serve at the St Philip facility.
Ward was represented by attorney-at-law Arthur Holder while Crown Counsel Rudolph Burnett prosecuted the case.