Businessman, Patrick Powell, who was found guilty for failing to hand over his firearm to the police for inspection, has been sentenced to nine months in prison at hard labour.
The Corporate Area businessman was sentenced by Judge Vaughn Smith in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court this morning.
Judge Smith says the ruling is to send a message to Powell and other licensed firearm holders.
He says a fine wouldn’t have been a sufficient or effective deterrent.
He says the fact that Powell’s gun has still not been handed over was a primary factor that led to his decision.
This, despite a favourable social enquiry report which painted a picture of a man who’s loving, friendly, not prone to extreme behaviour and respected in his community.
Judge Smith said he found it strange that up to today, Powell did not make a report of his gun being stolen or missing.
Powell’s attorney, Deborah Martin stood on her feet for just over 25-minutes today as she pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.
She says this was the first offence for her 56-year-old client who isn’t a nuisance to his community.
Ms. Martin says Powell also missed his children’s graduations over the years in an effort to be careful about the conditions of his bail.
It’s been six years since Powell was charged for failing to hand over his gun to the police.
The request was part of the investigation into the shooting death of Kingston College student, Khajeel Mais.
Mais was reportedly riding in a taxi which collided with a BMW X6, when the driver of the X6 emerged and fired several shots into the taxi, killing Khajeel.
The case, and Powell’s subsequent acquittal, outraged the country.
Judge Smith says if Powell had surrendered his firearm to the police today, it could have lessened his sentence.
However Ms. Martin told the courts they didn’t have a gun to hand over. But she emphasized that the raid by the police at Powell’s home, while he was in custody, hasn’t been pursued.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Smith considered several factors.
He says the social enquiry report was a good reflection of the person Powell is, it’s his first conviction and he abided by the directives of the court.
However, Judge Smith cautioned that there must be balance. He says the 9-month sentence is to deter all like minded persons from doing what Powell has been found guilty of.
Meanwhile, Ms. Martin says she was mindful of the how the court would rule based of the current issues at the Firearm Licensing Authority.
She says she’ll await her client’s decision of whether he’ll appeal the Judge’s ruling. The defence has 14-days to appeal.