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Gang attack man must serve full sentence

A man convicted of beating and robbing the manager of Bailey's Bay Cricket club has had his appeal against sentence quashed in Supreme Court.

Jahkeil Samuels, 25, had been sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty last March of a gang attack against Tareek Somner, 29.

Last week, lawyer Charles Richardson argued that the sentence was excessive, stressing that his client had committed no similar offences and that there was no evidence Samuels was the ringleader of the attack.

“The evidence suggests that my client threw the first blow,” Mr Richardson said. “After that, there is no evidence of his involvement in the incident.”

The attack took place on April 25, 2009, when seven men approached Mr Somner as he was leaving the Bailey's Bay Cricket Club, entered his car and asked him to give them a lift into Hamilton.

Mr Somner said that, under duress, he drove the men as far as Burchall's Cove and refused to take the men any further. All seven men reportedly kicked and beat Mr Somner, taking his wallet and a BlackBerry phone.

Mr Somner called Samuels, who had sat in the passenger seat, as the ringleader of the attack.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokumbo sentenced Samuels to three years imprisonment for his role in the attack, calling it a “particularly vicious offence.”

Speaking out against the sentence in Supreme Court, Mr Richardson said that there was no evidence that Samuels had done any more than throw the first punch.

“They say he's the leader because he threw the first punch. That's not sure, that's guess work,” he said.

“That is the one allegation that has poisoned this case from the beginning and there is no evidence.”

Mr Richardson also noted that while Samuels was sentenced to three years, his co-defendant, Troy Burgess, was sentenced to two years for his involvement.

While Mr Richardson said Burgess deserved a discount for pleading guilty, he said Burgess' prior convictions should have “levelled out” the sentences.

“Even if there was some uplift for going to trial, I would suggest that an uplift of a full year when dealing with a charge that carries a range of two to three years is a bit excessive,” Mr Richardson said. “It was something totally unexpected.”

He also argued that while Samuels had been remanded since January 3, Mr Tokumbo said only his time served after May 27 be taken into account and that no reason for that date had been given.

Crown counsel Cindy Clarke told Supreme Court that she had suggested the May 27 date because she argued time served previously was taken into account for a separate offence.

She said that when Samuels was first charged with the robbery he was granted bail. That bail was revoked after he was charged with a drugs offence on January 3.

On May 27, Samuels was sentenced to six months imprisonment for the drug charge, with time served since January 3 taken into account.

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves dismissed the appeal, finding that Mr Tokumbo had determined an appropriate sentence, and that there was no reason why the time served prior to May 27 should be factored in to the robbery sentence.

“There is a mentality in Bermuda that time served in custody should always be granted,” Justice Greaves said. “That's not always true. In a few cases I have done I have not given all the time, I have given some.”

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Published March 03, 2011 at 9:15 am (Updated March 03, 2011 at 9:15 am)

Gang attack man must serve full sentence

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