He was caught with an unlicensed firearm, ammunition and cannabis but Akeil Rishado Cumberbatch will not be sent to prison, a high court judge ruled Friday.
Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell warned him that when he returns for sentencing on May 28 he will have to pay a substantial fine in the region of $30,000 to $50,000.
Cumberbatch, 27, of Prior Park Gardens, St James, had pleaded guilty previously to possession of a firearm and four rounds of ammunition as well as possession and trafficking of cannabis on November 7, 2015.
During submissions by both sides, prosecutor Crown Counsel Rudolph Burnett told the court that considering the circumstances of Cumberbatch’s case he did not believe incarceration should be an option.
He suggested that some “hefty fines” should be imposed on the convicted man.
Burnett said: “It is the submission of the prosecution that taking all of the factors into account that this case is not one that would attract incarceration at this time, especially in this current climate, but we must be cognizant of the fact that these are very serious offences.
“The prosecution submits that taking all of the factors into account this case is ripe for a fine but this fine, if this honourable court so accepts, must reflect the seriousness of these offences.”
For having the illegal firearm, the Crown recommended a fine of $35, 000 in one month or four years in prison and $5,000 in one month or four years in prison for having the ammunition.
A fine of $10,000 in nine months or three months in prison was proposed for the possession of 1.314 kilogrammes of cannabis.
But lead attorney Arthur Holder who is representing Cumberbatch along with Rhea Layne and Ensley Grainger contended that those fines were too harsh, especially because his client had no previous convictions.
He asked Justice Smith-Bovell to first obtain his client’s financial status before imposing a fine.
Holder then said he believed a fine of $30,000 would be appropriate as he believed Cumberbatch still had much to offer to society.
The defence barrister said: “I believe that the now-convicted man can offer something to society. It is unfortunate that when this event occurred he was enrolled at the University of the West Indies studying Science and Technology and I do believe that he would have learnt from this lesson. It has in essence stymied some of his growth in relation to his educational achievements but he is a budding businessman and he has a lot to offer to society.”
Justice Smith-Bovell acknowledged that Cumberbatch’s situation was not typical given that he had nine CXC certificates.
When she asked Cumberbatch how he got himself involved in the crimes, he said it was uncharacteristic of him and regretted the decision he made.
“That was not supposed to happen to me but it taught me a lesson and probably it taught someone else a lesson too,” he said while admitting that he was holding the gun and the drugs for someone.
A remorseful Cumberbatch told the court that his remand at HMP Dodds had been a rehabilitative process and that he was now a changed man.
He said since being bailed he had started a business that offered several services including landscaping and power washing.
Cumberbatch told the court his parents would be willing to assist him in paying a fine.
Justice Smith-Bovell told him to come prepared on the sentencing date to pay a significant sum.
The judge declared: “If you think your parents are going to help you I suggest you have a conversation with them. The prosecution is asking for $50,000 and your attorney is asking for $30,000, so at least you would know that the figure is between $50,000 and $30,000 based on the submissions made, so start gathering up and walk with what you can.”