Sophia youth refused bail on charge of shooting at man

A Sophia youth was yesterday accused of firing shots at another man following an argument over food.

Jameel Howard, 18, of 322 Section C, Sophia, was brought before a city court charged with discharging a loaded firearm. According to the charge, on May 21, at Louisa Row and Hadfield Street, the man discharged a loaded firearm at Jermaine Francis. Howard denied the offence.

It is the police’s case that Francis was at a Chinese restaurant in the area when he was approached by Howard, who is known to him. According to Prosecutor Bharat Mangru, Francis had just bought his food and had placed it on top of his car when Howard came and pulled the box off, throwing it to the ground.

A scuffle ensued between the men. The defendant quickly ran off to a nearby yard but was pursued by Howard. He was seen soon afterwards making a call.

Mangru added that a vehicle came and an unknown man gave Howard an object, believed to be a gun.

The defendant then aimed the gun and fired several shots at Francis before jumping into the car and escaping. He was later apprehended, Mangru concluded.

Attorney Paul Fung-A-Fat, who represented the accused, strongly refuted the prosecutor’s version of the tale. “That is a total fabrication by the police,” Fung-A-Fat emphasised.

According to the lawyer, Howard had never been before a court. He also said the young man would be joining the army soon.

Mangru objected to bail and cited several reasons, including the seriousness and prevalence of gun-related crimes along with the fact that a gun was used in the commission of the offence. He added that two spent shells had been recovered at the scene of the crime and he expressed fear that the penalty for the offence might dissuade the defendant from returning to court.

In rebuttal, Fung-A-Fat said that no gun had been recovered and there was no substantial evidence, such as fingerprints, to establish a case against his client.

The prosecutor’s objections were nevertheless upheld and Howard was remanded to prison by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry. He will make his next appearance on June 13.

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