A man who admitted threatening someone with a shotgun was sentenced on Tuesday to eight years’ imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Kevin Curtis Bowen, 35, was originally charged with attempted murder, with causing grievous bodily harm as an alternative. The victim had been shot, eventually losing his left hand and part of his arm as a result.
When Mr. Bowen’s trial was about to start last July, he pleaded guilty to the possession charge and the Crown offered no evidence against him on the other two charges.
The next hearing, known as a Goodyear direction, was for Justice Charles Quin to hear the basis of Mr. Bowen’s plea and say what his maximum sentence would be before hearing mitigation by defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi. He determined that the sentence would be eight and a half years – the mandatory minimum being seven years.
“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.
This week, Crown counsel Scott Wainwright told the court that in the early hours of Aug. 7, 2016, the victim and Mr. Bowen were attending a fish fry in the Rock Hole area of George Town. The victim knew Mr. Bowen only by his street name, “Plantain.” There was a verbal altercation between them and Mr. Bowen left, returning with an unidentified man.
Mr. Bowen placed the end of the barrel of a shotgun against the victim’s forehead and said threatening words. The victim produced a knife, making it plain that he was prepared to use it to defend himself, before walking away.
Mr. Wainwright said the victim then heard a warning shot. Then there was a second shot, which hit him in the arm. He was taken to hospital and then airlifted to Jamaica, where doctors removed his left hand and a portion of his lower left arm.
By accepting Mr. Bowen’s basis of plea, the Crown was accepting that he was not the shooter, but had been present. It was possible there was a second firearm, Mr. Wainwright said.
Mr. Aiolfi submitted that the shotgun was not loaded Justice Quin responded, “The victim would not have known whether it was loaded or unloaded when it was put to his head.”
The judge asked whether the Crown knew if the gun that fired the shot was the one Mr. Bowen had or another gun. Mr. Aiolfi said that on the basis of plea, it was another gun.
He pointed to the lapse of time between Mr. Bowen putting the gun against the victim’s forehead and the shot being fired.
After listing the factors to be taken into account in a firearm sentence, Justice Quin concluded that the appropriate sentence was eight years.
The Crown later confirmed that the shotgun was never recovered.