For discharging a gun in the middle of a party, and hitting an innocent bystander with two of the bullets, a Rose Hall man has been sentenced to a 15 year prison sentence.
This incident, for which Akeeni Hackshaw has been found responsible, occurred on May 28, 2017.
Crown counsel Renée Simmons had succeeded in convincing the jury during the trial that Hackshaw was guilty of both of the offences of wounding with intent, and possessing a firearm with intent to cause injury.
Justice Brian Cottle, who reviewed the facts before sentencing Hackshaw last week Monday, noted that the victim, Novesha Delplesche of Petit Bordel, attended a paint and powder event that was being held at the RoseHall playing field. The Justice stated that at this event there was music, dancing, and drinks on sale.
“Patrons who attended were decorating themselves with coloured paint, and coloured powder,” he informed, and that the event had been organized in order to raise funds for the benefit of the community.
In the early hours of the morning on May 28, Hackshaw and his friend, who were at the party, got into an argument with a group from a neighbouring village. Someone threw a bottle at Hackshaw, who fell to the ground.
It is said that while getting back up, the RoseHall man drew a gun from his waist, and then he began shooting towards the ground. This was supported by witnesses who testified to seeing him shooting.
“The virtual complainant was sitting near the bar at this time, and two of the rounds which were discharged by the prisoner struck the virtual complainant who fell to the ground,” Cottle stated. Delplesche also injured his wrist because of the fall.
However, the wounded man was able to drive to the Chateaubelair hospital, where he was stabilized and taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital(MCMH) for surgery.
Meanwhile, Hackshaw had taken his gun and fled the scene.
It was the presence of a number of aggravating factors surrounding the wounding, that caused Hackshaw’s prison sentence to climb upwards to a term of 15 years.
The court was aggravated by the fact that he had brought the unlicensed firearm with him to the event, and it posited that this showed a degree of premeditation. The gun that he used was also never recovered.
“The shooting took place in a crowded, public setting, with many patrons having to flee for their lives, the resulting confusion could have caused many serious injuries to these persons as they tried to avoid the gunfire,” Cottle observed. The Justice commented that Hackshaw was indifferent to the danger he put the innocent patrons in.
No mitigating features of the offence could be gleaned from the facts, to counter the effect that the aggravating features had.
Hackshaw, who was 20 at the time of the offence, had one conviction of wounding committed while he was on bail for this offence. The Justice chose not to make any adjustment for this.
Hackshaw has already spent two years, one month, and 18 days in prison, which will leave a remaining sentence of 12 years, 10 months and 12 days incarceration from last Monday.
For the possession of a firearm with intent to injure, he must spend eight years in jail.
Hackshaw was permitted to greet a small child on his way back to Her Majesty’s Prison.