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Court: burglar shot accomplice by accident

An armed burglar who accidentally shot his accomplice during a home invasion has been jailed.

Josef Smith and two other men raided a Hamilton Parish home on May 14, last year before making off with two mobile phones.

Yesterday at Supreme Court Smith was sentenced to 14 years behind bars and told he would have to serve half the sentence before he could be considered for parole.

The 27-year-old, who became a father for the first time shortly after being remanded in custody in connection with the home invasion, asked Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons to have “mercy” on him.

“It has been hard to come to grips with situation I face right now,” he said. “A month into my sentence I was blessed with a son which was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. But not being able to be there and show him the right things as he grows up has been pretty hard. I do want to get back out there and be a good father to my son.”

Smith was found guilty of aggravated burglary and discharging a firearm after trial.

During the trial the court heard that on the evening of May 14 two men wearing full-face helmets entered a home on North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish. One — Smith — was wielding a firearm.

The men took two mobile phones from the three people inside the house, but as they went to leave the firearm discharged.

Police later found a trail of blood leading out of the house.

A short time later, Umdae Woolridge brought Taariq Clarke, who had suffered a gunshot wound to his left forearm, to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Clarke initially told officers he had been shot while travelling along Vesey Street but later confessed that he had been injured while involved in the armed robbery.

Woolridge was jailed for two years and ten months after he pleaded guilty to burglary, while Clarke was imprisoned for 7½ years for his part in the crime.

Yesterday Puisne Judge Simmons imposed sentences of 14 years for the aggravated burglary and 10 years for discharging a firearm on Smith to run concurrently. The judge said: “These offences occurred inside a house and the big issue here is the presence of the gun.

“The occupant was deliberately targeted.”

The court heard that Smith had previous convictions for violence and burglary.

In December 2005 he was convicted of breaking and entering with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and damaging a car, for which he was fined $200.

In February 2014 Smith was jailed for 18 months for robbing a man of a $10,000 gold chain.

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Published December 19, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 19, 2015 at 8:09 am)

Court: burglar shot accomplice by accident

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