A first-time gun offender is being allowed the opportunity to rehabilitate himself with a High Court judge imposing on him a total of $16 000 in fines rather than an immediate term of imprisonment.
However, Kadeem Shakeel Mayers will only stay out of prison if he pays all the money.
“The court notes that the now-convicted man has removed himself from associating with his negative peers and has sought to be employed after his release from Dodds after being remanded. The court has no intention of derailing your efforts to rehabilitate yourself and to be a positive contributor to society,” Madam Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell told the Bannister Land, Martindales Road, St Michael resident on Monday.
Mayers had to pay half of the money forthwith. He must settle the balance by September 30 to avoid an alternative prison term of two years and 100 days, which is the remainder of an eight-year starting sentence.
Mayers had pleaded guilty to charges that he had an illegal.22 revolver and one round of ammunition on December 23, 2018.
Justice Smith-Bovell, in handing down the sentence in the No. 4 Supreme Court, stated that although the offences merited a custodial sentence that was not the only sentence “that would do justice to the case as a substantial fine can have both a deterrent effect and a [punitive] effect”.
The judge, in looking at the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case, said there was no evidence that the firearm was used by Mayers.
She said that if his story is to be believed, “it was used by other individuals in an attempt to rob him and the now-convicted man retrieved it after the incident and kept it in his possession”.
“. . . . But given that he retrieved it after it was used on him in an attempted robbery, one could surmise that he intended to keep it for his personal use,” Justice Smith-Bovell added.
The judge also pointed out that the weapon was loaded and ready for use with a live round of ammunition in a public place; and that Mayers sought to evade lawmen and put them in danger of injury when he slammed the police car door on an officer and ran away.
The sole mitigating factor, she said, was that the gun and ammunition were recovered.
Going in Mayers’ favour, added Justice Smith-Bovell, were his early guilty plea, his positive pre-sentencing report, his low to medium risk of reoffending, his genuine remorse, and “the strong prospects for and evidence of attempts at rehabilitation”.
She accepted the submissions of the prosecutor that a fine of $15 000 for the firearm and $1 000 for the ammunition be imposed on Mayers.
He had to pay $7 000 forthwith on the firearm fine and the $8 000 balance must be settled on or before September 30. The ammunition fine had to be paid immediately.
The judge imposed the alternative of an eight-year starting sentence from which a year was deducted given that the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating ones in Mayers’ case. He was then credited with a one-third discount for his guilty plea and the 873 days he had spent on remand, leaving him with two years and 100 days left to spend behind bars if the money is not paid.
Mayers was represented by attorneys-at-law Michael Lashley K.C., Sade Harris and Zudie Payne.