DPP supports suggestion to allow victims a say during sentencing phase
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has thrown her support behind a suggestion that in some cases victims and complainants should be allowed to have a say during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial.
The suggestion was made by defense attorney Peter Champagnie after a St Andrew woman he represented was given a suspended three-year sentence in the Gun Court last Friday.
Twenty-four-year-old Sasha Gay Gooden pleaded guilty last month to illegal possession of firearm for accidentally shooting her police Constable companion with his service firearm while they played at his home in April 2015.
Prosecutors led evidence that the Constable went home, unloaded his weapon and placed it under a pillow on his bed before he and Gooden started playing.
The woman then picked up the weapon and accidentally shot him in the chest.
In a social enquiry report presented to the court, the policeman indicated that he did not want to see Gooden sent to prison because he believed the shooting was not intentional.
She has since given birth to a one-year-old daughter fathered by the policeman.
Gooden’s attorney Peter Champagnie says the case underscores the need for a legislative framework that allows High Court judges to take into account the wishes of victims and complainants during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial.
Llewellyn agreed, saying in appropriate cases, such a move would enhance the interest of justice for the complainant.