By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JUDGE told an attempted murder convict to “consider yourself lucky that this is the festive season” when she gave him a 17-year-sentence.
Justice Indra Charles had spoken out on crime and the increasing rate of Bahamian men going to prison just before she sentenced 29-year-old Alexis Farrington.
Farrington was convicted six weeks ago of the November 11, 2011 attempted murder of Alvon Emmanuel, with the use of a firearm.
On Thursday the court heard submissions from prosecutor Kristan Stubbs, who asked the court to consider a sentencing range of 15 to 25 years, and defence counsel Bernard Ferguson Jr, who asked the court to be lenient on his client and give him a second chance.
Justice Charles said: “Mr Farrington strikes me as a very intelligent person. This is not a case of confession. This is a case of eye-witnesses and several persons saw him. Certainly the jury felt there was overwhelming identification evidence.
“As long as one draws breath, one can improve,” said Ferguson Jr, adding that his client was still a young man who could be a productive member of society and has a daughter.
The judge asked prosecutors about the extent of the injuries the victim received.
Emmanuel was shot in the stomach, according to the medical reports, a life threatening injury
“Had he not had surgical intervention, it may have resulted in death,” Stubbs said. “It’s a pity that someone who has attended one of the top colleges (St John’s) in the country, finds himself before this court for a senseless act,” the judge told Farrington.
“You heard the evidence from the doctor. The jury found you guilty. You lived three houses from the witnesses. They know you.”
The judge acknowledged that Farrington was still young and said he did, in her view, appear to be remorseful despite maintaining innocence.
“It’s sad, again, that a young Bahamian must go and sit in prison. All of our young men are now occupying Fox Hill Prison.
“When you come before me, I have to apply the law for parliament and for the people, society. We have to send a signal out there, if you commit offences, you are going to be punished.
“Every day you read in the newspapers, ‘crime’, ‘tourist attack’, ‘citizen attack’. People go into homes and attack,” she said.
Taking into account Farrington’s previous convictions (two counts of housebreaking, unlawfully carrying arms and possession of dangerous drugs) use of firearm, the life threatening injury and the fact that the victim was unarmed and defenceless, the judge told Farrington he would spend 17 years in prison starting from the day of conviction, October 23, after considering his two years on remand.
“Consider yourself lucky that this is the festive season. The maximum is life imprisonment,” she said, before telling Farrington he should be made to compensate the victim.
However, the judge did not make the order, acknowledging that a civil suit could be taken against the convict.
“You got off on that Mr Farrington. You should be paying for all the things that young man suffered,” the judge concluded before adjourning court.