Laden could get parole after one year - Councillor and Christopher Martin gave character evidence for deejay at hearing

December 17, 2020
Christopher Martin
Christopher Martin

One of the lawyers for dancehall artiste Laden said that the Time To Shine deejay, who was on Monday sentenced to four years imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm, could be on the streets after about a year.

Attorney-at-law Thomas Levene told THE STAR that "In practical terms, he may apply for parole after one year".

Laden benefited from sentencing discount under the Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act because he pleaded guilty and did not waste the court's time.

When Laden appeared in the St Elizabeth Circuit Court on Tuesday for sentencing hearing, fellow Rising Stars alum, singer Christopher Martin, and Cetany Holness, councillor for the Junction division in the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, served as character witnesses. The sentencing was delayed until yesterday.

Laden, whose given name is Okeefe Aarons, was handed a four-year prison sentence for illegal possession of firearm and 18 months for illegal possession of ammunition. Both sentences will run concurrently, therefore, Laden will serve a maximum of four years.

According to Levene, when the judge, Justice Evon Brown, returned from deliberations on Wednesday, he was very detailed.

"He went through great lengths to explain how he arrived at the sentences, the aggravating circumstances and the mitigating circumstances. The police chase, the throwing away of the firearm were among several things deemed to be aggravating," Levene explained.

In Laden's favour, however, were his clean record and character references.

"His clean record, his contribution to his community as well as the character evidence by Christopher Martin and Cetany Holness were given great weight. Mr Aarons appeared more settled after the verdict and remained respectful to the court and dignified in his conduct," Levene said.

Laden's problems started on October 28 when, according to the police, lawmen were in Cheapside, St Elizabeth, when they signalled the driver of a black Mercedes-Benz motor car with two other occupants to stop.

Laden, who was the driver of the vehicle, disobeyed the police's order and sped off. The police gave chase. During the chase, an object was observed being thrown from the sunroof of the vehicle. When the police caught up with the vehicle, the occupants were arrested and taken back to the site where the object was witnessed being thrown from the car. The area was searched, and a pistol recovered.

All three men, which included a 16-year-old, were taken into custody, where charges were subsequently laid. The other two men had all charges against them dismissed.

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