After Kevin Curtis Bowen pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of an unlicensed firearm, the Crown offered no evidence against him on two other charges – attempted murder, with causing grievous bodily harm as an alternative.
Bowen, 35, had pleaded not guilty to all three charges and the jury was chosen for a trial that was to have started on Tuesday.
On that day, defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi told Justice Charles Quin that Bowen was asking for an indication of what the sentence would be if he did plead guilty to the firearm charge.
All three charges related to an incident in which a man was shot outside a restaurant on Gresscott Lane in the Rock Hole area of George Town in the early hours of Aug. 7, 2016.
Justice Quin heard the circumstances of the case and submissions from both Mr. Aiolfi and Crown counsel Scott Wainwright.
On Wednesday, he said the lowest maximum sentence he could indicate was eight and a half years.
The judge noted that he had confined his thoughts to the firearm charge only and had ignored the other charges. In particular, he took into account the basis of plea.
“I accept that there is no evidence that the defendant pulled the trigger …. There was no evidence that at the time he was in possession of the firearm that it was loaded,” Justice Quin said.
Mr. Aiolfi asked for a short adjournment so that his client could consider the judge’s ruling. He subsequently asked for the charge to be put to Bowen again: that on Aug. 7, 2016, at Gresscott Lane, he was in possession of a shotgun without a firearm user’s license.
Bowen pleaded guilty.
Justice Quin told him, “I think it’s a very wise and sensible step you’re taking.”
He then said he would order a social inquiry report and a victim impact report before proceeding to sentence.
The eight-and-a-half-year sentence he indicated is the maximum term he could impose; information in the reports and other mitigation could lower the sentence.
Mr. Wainwright advised the court, “In light of developments in this trial, the plea is acceptable in full satisfaction of the indictment.
The Crown offers no evidence on counts one and two.” Those first two counts referred to the charges of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm.
Given the time it takes to prepare reports, as well as the schedules of the judge and defense, the sentence hearing was set for Wednesday, Nov. 1.
Justice Quin thanked the waiting jurors for their patience and released them until Monday, Aug. 7.
The Firearms Law sets seven years as the minimum sentence when a defendant pleads guilty to possession of a shotgun without a license. In this case, Mr. Aiolfi had accepted that there were aggravating factors. It was expected that full details would be set out at the sentencing hearing.