Change of heart
Man enters guilty plea five weeks into trial
The Kew Land, Redman’s Village, St Thomas resident had previously denied having an unlicensed gun and one cartridge on April 4, 2009.
He was before Justice Jacqueline Cornelius in the No. 5 Supreme Court earlier today.
Drakes’ trial before the High Court began with Angella Mitchell-Gittens as his attorney, followed by Dr Lenda Blackman and finally Romain Marshall.
Besides his change of attorneys, the convicted man had been sick on two occasions during the trial, one of which was for a ten-day period.
By the time Drakes changed his plea today, Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts, who prosecuted the case, had already entered the evidence of four police witnesses out of the nine witnesses expected to testify during the trial.
The judge revoked Drakes’ bail last Friday and he therefore returned to HMP Dodds today until December 16, when his matter will come up again.
The facts of the case were that police at the District ‘D’ Police Station got information that a man was at Redman’s Village with a shotgun. They went to the area but did not see Drakes, also known as ‘Oily’.
However, civilian Moses Petro told them that he had seen Drakes and believed he was still around there. Petro joined the police in their search efforts and during that time, he got a call from another civilian, saying that Drakes had just got into a car and had left the area. The person forwarded the car registration number as well.
With the civilian aboard, the officers made their way towards Warrens, St Michael. While in traffic, they spotted the wanted vehicle with four persons inside. One of them was Drakes, who was sitting behind the driver.
The traffic lights changed and the police vehicle was then beside the one Drakes was in, which had paused because of traffic ahead. Constable Alfred Clarke got out of the police vehicle and ordered the driver of the car to remain stationary.
During that time, Drakes took up an object in a blue case and tried to climb over the passenger to his left. But as he opened the left rear door, Petro got out of the police vehicle just as swiftly and held him, causing them both to fall.
Clarke then went around and assisted in holding Drakes, who was still holding on to the blue case with the shotgun inside. A second constable, Ernest Mellows, got out by then and he also assisted in subduing Drakes.
When Drakes was later told that it was an offence to have an unlicensed gun, he told the cops: “This aint my gun; this belong to the man in the car . . . ”
He later gave police a statement admitting possession of the firearm.
When Drakes returns on December 16, the court will hear whether he has any priors and whether he will be calling any character witnesses as part of his mitigation.