A local man has been sentenced to roughly a half-decade at Her Majesty’s Prison after he shot his friend with a firearm back in 2016.
Kani Hazel will serve four-and-a-half years for the prohibited firearm offence and one year for the unlawful and malicious wounding.
Both sentences are to run concurrently (at the same time) and will retroactively commence from June 30, 2016 — the date he was first placed on remand.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Ann-Marie Smith said she considered Hazel’s young age of 19 when he committed the offence, his guilty plea, the fact that he had no previous convictions, and what she described as his “precarious mental and physical condition”.
On the other hand, the loaded firearm and the injuries sustained by the reported victim were considered as aggravating factors in this case.
In explaining the reason for not imposing the mandatory minimum penalty of a decade in prison, the court said it believed “that no useful purpose can be served in imposing the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and/or $100,000 on this defendant who is mentally and physically challenged”.
The court added that it would be in the interest of justice to exercise its discretion to impose a lesser penalty as it believes that the imposition of the minimum penalty would be ‘arbitrary and disproportionate’ where the offender is unfit to serve the minimum sentence.
Facts of the case
It is reported that on June 30, 2016, the convicted man and the gunshot victim (the complainant) got into an argument about the late return of a motor vehicle belonging to the complainant.
The complainant became upset with the defendant and pushed him. He (the defendant) subsequently left the scene. The complainant went inside his house, and about twenty minutes later, he heard a rattling sound at his front door. He went to open it and saw two hands come inside of the door, with one hand holding the handle of a gun and the other hand pulling back the slide of the firearm.
The complainant ran towards the door and grabbed the firearm and saw that it was being held by Hazel. Both parties began to wrestle. The firearm reportedly discharged during the struggle and hit the complainant in his abdominal region.
The gunshot victim managed to hit Hazel repeatedly in the head. The fight continued into the yard. The gunshot victim said he stopped hitting Hazel when he noticed the gunman coughing up blood.
At this point, Hazel (the gunman) picked up the magazine to the firearm which had fallen out of the gun during the struggle and ran away. The gunshot victim was then taken to Peebles Hospital in an ambulance sometime later.
Attorneys Patrick Thompson and Reynela Rawlins represented Hazel.
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