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Carmona goes out with ‘bang’
On his last day yesterday as a judge, President-designate Anthony Carmona, presiding in the San Fernando High Court, sentenced three men to a total of 36 years and eight months in jail, fined another and bonded two others for various offences. Carmona also aborted a drug-trafficking case because he felt the integrity of the matter had been compromised after two jurors had interacted with him on Thursday.
He said he had intended to sum up the matter against Dwayne Pope but two things had changed his mind. One was that the foreman stood up in open court and congratulated him on behalf of the panel and assured him he had their support. Also, Carmona said, another juror sent a note to him inviting him to come to a particular community to speak with youths with a view to arresting juvenile delinquency.
He said the juror was possibly aware of the Bail Boys project he was involved with, in which some 30 youths were put on bail with conditions to help them improve themselves. In the circumstances, Carmona felt the fairness of the trial would be compromised. Unfazed, the foreman again stood up and again congratulated him. She then asked to be the first to shake his hand, walked up to the Bench and shook his hand.
The rest of the panel then did the same. Carmona reminded the packed courtroom he was just a nominee. Between sentencing Carmona spared an hour to attend a farewell function organised by the Assembly of Southern Lawyers. He asked for there to be no media coverage. Among the men Carmona sentenced were Michael McSween and Luke Gloudon, who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to be detained at the State’s pleasure.
Both men suffer from mental illnesses and spent some time in the remand yard and St Ann’s Hospital. McSween, who murdered his sister in 2003 and wounded three of his siblings, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His sentence, when he pleaded guilty, was to run from 2003. Gloudon, who spent 11 years at St Ann’s Hospital, murdered his father in September 2002. He was sentenced to 16 years, his sentence was to run from January 2007, the date of his guilty plea.
Joel Brown, the father of two, also pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday and was sentenced to eight months in prison. Brown had pushed Victor Kennedy, 49, for putting his foot on a bench during a wappie game in a club in Princes Town on March 21, 2003. Kennedy, who was intoxicated, stumbled backwards and fell on a step. He suffered a wound to his head and died at hospital.
Others sentenced yesterday were:
• Carlton Cummings, 80, who was placed on a $5,000 bond for three years to keep the peace on charges of wounding with intent and common assault.
• Kerry Gour, 45, was placed a similar bond on a charge of arson. However, Gour, who has a mental illness, had several conditions attached to the bond, including being admitted to the psychiatric ward of the San Fernando Hospital after his release.
• Jerome Kendell Barker, 53, was fined $10,000 or three years’ hard labour on two charges: Possession of two guns and 44 rounds of ammunition.
The judge commended the police involved in his arrest, including Insp Peter Ramdeen, Louis Granger and Curt Simon, and awarded them $500 each. State attorney Maureceia Joseph prosecuted in all the matters while defence attorneys included Saira Lakhan, Richard Valere and Subhas Panday.
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