Birthday plea

Lawyer begs for client’s freedom

It may have been one of his birthday wishes but 27-year-old Derick Alphonso John will have to return to court on Thursday to learn his fate.

The prosecutor and defence lawyer for John, who has been on bail for the past 11 years on a firearm charge, had pleaded for him to be set free.

Back on March 28, 2005, John, then 16 years of age, reported to police that an unknown assailant had shot him in the right leg while he was walking along Enterprise Road, Christ Church.

However, he changed the story later and revealed that he was in possession of an unlawful .32 caliber revolver which was located on his waist and had discharged when he tried to retrieve it.

Appearing today, which was his birthday, in Court No.5 of the Supreme Court before Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, John pleaded guilty to the charge.

After telling the Court “I am truly sorry”, his legal counsel Arthur Holder revealed that the accused had been on good behaviour during his time on bail and had acquired gainful employment on numerous occasions although the charge had also caused him some problems with employment.

“I am asking the court to be most lenient in the circumstances being the length of time . . . to reprimand and discharge if so minded [and] not to impose a custodial sentence,” Holder said.

The Prosecutor, Elwood Watts, also argued for the same. He said: “It is the most unusual firearm charge . . . . He has been working over the [past] 11 years. I see no need to sully his name, no need for probation. I ask for him to go about his business as he has been doing for the last 11 years.

John will return to court for sentencing on Thursday.

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