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Carmona: Why no outrage over Beetham attack?

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

HIGH COURT Justice Anthony Carmona expressed shock yesterday that there was no public outcry over the shooting of eight persons in Beetham Gardens, Port of Spain, two weeks ago.

Carmona said had the shooting happened in the United States, it would have made world news.

The eight persons, including three women, were wounded when men opened fire on them as they played dominoes at a house in Beetham Gardens on the night of January 17. One man later died.

Carmona said of the shooting: "There has been a type of muted response... As a society, we can't be insensitive to the dilemma faced by law-abiding citizens."

He made the comment in the San Fernando Second Criminal Court while dealing with the case of Jerome Barker.

Barker pleaded guilty to the 2006 charge of having guns and ammunition, and his lawyer made a plea of mitigation yesterday.

Carmona told Barker his criminal activity was a dead-end road, and spoke of the bodies of many young men lying in the Tunapuna cemetery "because the Laventille cemetery is full".

Defence attorney Ian Brooks said Barker, a father of seven children ranging from seven to 31 years old, was deported from the United States after serving prison time.

Brooks said Barker was remorseful for his crime and presented written testimonials on his behalf.

Brooks asked that his client be placed on a bond for the firearms offences.

He said Barker was released from prison in July 2012 after spending six years in jail on a murder charge, and has since found employment with a security company.

Brooks made reference to a document in which another judge described Remand Yard as a hell hole in which men facing murder charges were in the same space with men charged with petty crimes.

State attorney Mauriceia Joseph said Barker, out on $5,000 own bail, faced a maximum prison term of ten years for the offence.

Barker is expected to be sentenced on February 20.

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