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Westmoreland cop convicted on shooting charge

Published:Wednesday | April 4, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

A policeman who shot and injured a civilian at a dance has been sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

Resident Magistrate (RM) Sheron Barnes convicted 28-year-old Constable Everett Rodney of the offence.

Rodney said he acted in self-defence when he fired the shot, but Barnes found that he was not under attack when he shot the complainant.

André Cunningham, a bus driver, was shot in the left hand at a dance at Darliston, Westmoreland, in December 2008.

The Crown led evidence in the Savanna-la-Mar Resident Magistrate's Court in Westmoreland that, on the night of the incident, Rodney and another policeman were at the dance when Rodney had an altercation with a patron. Rodney was taken outside to his car and told to leave but he refused. Patrons became hostile and threw missiles at Rodney and his friends. Witnesses said a policeman fired shots in the air while Rodney fired several shots into the crowd.

Rodney went to sit on a wall and, while there, someone threw a stone which hit him on the foot. A few minutes later, Rodney pointed his gun at Cunningham and fired at him. He was struck in the left arm. While Cunningham was on the ground, the witnesses said, Rodney kicked him several times.

After Rodney was convicted, attorney-at-law Lambert Johnson pleaded with the RM to give him a non-custodial sentence.

Rodney also gave verbal notice of appeal.

An application was also made for bail pending the appeal, but it was refused.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com