The Campden Park man who was last week charged with threatening a witness in an attempted murder case against him has been jailed for two months.
Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the guilty verdict on Keithon James, 19, on Monday, after an expatriated trial last Friday.
James was found guilty of a charge that on Nov. 24, at Campden Park, he used threatening language to Gilmore John, to wit, “I will shoot you.”
James committed the offence while on bail on an attempted murder charge.
He is charged that on June 13, 2018, at Campden Park, he attempted to murder fellow villager Keymany Williams, 30, by shooting him on the left side of his stomach with a gun.
In mitigation, counsel Grant Connell noted James’ age and pointed out that he has no previous convictions and is extremely remorseful for his action.
He said James and John have had several exchanges but they have never been physical.
The lawyer asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence, and suggested that if the court was minded to impose a prison term, that it be suspended.
He also suggested community service, telling the court that James is not a hardened criminal.
However, prosecutor Police Constable Corlene Samuel disagreed with Connell, telling the court that while James was charged with using threatening language, the court has to consider the facts surrounding the case.
She said that the prosecution was asking for a custodial sentence so that James could understand the seriousness of the offence and so, too, would potential offenders.
“It is a serious issue when witnesses are threatened,” Samuel said.
However, Connell told the court that throughout the prosecution’s case, the defendant did not acknowledge that John is a witness in the attempted murder case.
Connell said there is nothing to suggest that his client was cognisant of the fact that John is a witness in the attempted murder case and that that was the basis of the threat against him.
He said that the matter was called several times at the Serious Offences Court but no witnesses, not even the police turned up.
He said he does not think that the fact that John is a witness in the case against James should be “the common denominator”.
The lawyer said that it is in the interest of the society that the two men try to cure the relationship between them.
However, Samuel said that Connell knows how the court system works, adding that sometimes, matters are called but are adjourned for varying reasons.
The prosecutor asked the court to consider the environment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
She said it is a serious thing to tell someone, “I am going to shoot you.”
The prosecutor further asked the court to consider how John felt at the time of the threat.
In handing down the sentence, Burnett said there are too many threats to shoot in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We all live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and know what is going on,” he said.
“The court must send a message that this must stop. I am doing that today,” the magistrate said.
Ne noted that the maximum sentence for James’ offence is three months imprisonment and sentenced the man to two months in jail.
The time spent on remand will be deducted from the sentence.