Laden says ‘I’m sorry’ to family and fans
The lawyers for embattled dancehall deejay, Laden, say their client is now pensive, remorseful and embarrassed, "not for himself, but for the negative impact this situation has had on his family, his fans and those who previously held him in high esteem".
Laden, whose given name is Okeefe Aarons, on Monday pleaded guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearm and illegal possession of ammunition when he appeared in the St Elizabeth Circuit Court, and will be sentenced on December 15. His two co-accused, Saaion Ebanks, 21, and a 16-year-old, were both acquitted on Monday after no evidence was offered by the Crown.
The lead attorney in the case was Thomas Levene, with support from Jodi Taylor. Levene told THE STAR that by the evidence, and from Laden's instructions to his legal team, it was never his client's intention to waste the court's time nor to put his co-accused through a lengthy period of undue suffering.
"Mr Aarons has long resigned himself to whatever sentence the court will pass upon him, as he appreciates that a man must abide by the natural and foreseeable consequences of his actions. Not all police officers are liars, and likewise good people who find themselves in a bad situation are redeemable," Levene stated.
He also took time to address what he termed "a small issue". According to Levene, "Something was previously reported in mainstream and social media that would have now created an impression that something amiss occurred why Mr Aarons pleaded guilty. Let us reiterate, Mr Aarons has been consistent in his instructions from that unfortunate night."
When asked about the possible sentence, according to Levene "It will not be proper for us, the attorneys, at this time to speculate on the sentence the judge will pass. What we will say is that Mr Aarons was never wanted by the police, neither was he ever previously taken in for questioning or profiling."
Legal luminary Christopher Townsend however, when contacted by THE STAR, pointed out that by pleading guilty, Laden would automatically receive a 50 per cent sentence reduction. "The judge will then look at the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and also request a social enquiry report," he said. He added, "Laden could then receive further discounts." He said that the sentence could range from anywhere between three and five years or even a fine.
Laden was arrested on the night of October 28 after the Mercedes-Benz in which he was travelling was signalled to stop by the police. Laden, who was said to be the driver, sped off and the police gave chase. During the chase, an object was reportedly thrown through the vehicle's sunroof. The police caught up with the occupants of the vehicle, arrested them and took them back to the area where the object was thrown. A Hi-point 9mm pistol with a magazine containing one 9mm round of ammunition was recovered by the police.