By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN awaiting trial for a double attempted murder was denied bail by the Court of Appeal yesterday.
Omar Chisholm and his lawyer Murrio Ducille appeared before Justices Anita Allen, Abdulai Conteh and Neville Adderley contesting a Supreme Court judge’s decision to deny the accused bail in December.
However, the appellate court found that Justice Bernard Turner was not unreasonable in exercising his discretion to deny bail to the 36 year old who was satisfied the trial would start on the set date. The judge had also been concerned by the applicant’s non-disclosure of his recent convictions and sentences for drug possession.
Chisholm is charged with the attempted murders of Kevin Johnson and Franky Pierre on October 26, 2011.
Prosecutors allege Chisholm to be the gunman who pursued and shot the two men near an Esso service station on East Bay Street.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when formally arraigned in the Supreme Court in September 2012. His April 7, 2014 trial did not proceed as scheduled and the case was adjourned to September 14, 2015.
Chisholm had applied for bail at the end of November 2014 on the basis that he has not been tried within the three-year statute of limitations concerning the incident for which he was charged.
Justice Turner, who is to preside over the trial, denied bail after considering Chisholm’s recent convictions and ongoing sentences for drug possession that were not detailed in his affidavit, among other reasons.
The bail application had been filed three weeks after Chisholm’s previous four-year mandatory minimum prison term was reduced by more than half.
His lawyers appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt for him to be resentenced concerning the seven pounds of marijuana found in his possession in January 2012.
Chisholm was convicted in April 2013 and sentenced to four years because the law at the time, amended in 2011, stipulated that anyone convicted of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply must face four to seven years in prison.
However, his lawyers argued that he should be re-sentenced given the recent decision that the sentencing law had been declared unconstitutional last September by then Supreme Court Senior Justice Jon Isaacs.
The chief magistrate resentenced Chisholm to 19 months imprisonment to run from April 25, 2013 in view of the time he has already served, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the matter of Barrington Robinson as well as the convict’s good upbringing and family support.
However, the jurisdiction of the new imposed sentence (which would have been spent by November 2014) was called into question as Chisholm’s drug possession matter had already been heard and decided in the appellate court.
Crown respondent Ambrose Armbrister yesterday argued that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to make the ruling notwithstanding that the Supreme Court decision of Barrington Robinson came after the ruling of the appellate court.
Mr Ducille disagreed and said the ruling on Robinson’s constitutional matter allowed for the initial sentencing court to impose a sentence.
The judges, however, said the issue of jurisdiction for resentencing would be determined in the Crown’s appeal of Canadian pilot Michael Webster’s new 18-month sentence for drug possession.
Webster, 24, of Quebec, Canada, was initially given four years in prison for his involvement in a $1m drug plot last year but went on to be resentenced in October, a month after the Robinson decision. The appellate court has reserved its decision in that matter.