Female high court judge, Justice Paula Gilford has dismissed a defense application to allow for 20-year old Hakim Mc Queen of Beausejour, St. George, to change his earlier guilty plea on four (4) gun-related charges and instead take his chances in a jury trial.
The request was made to the Guyana-born judge last week Friday at a sitting of the St. George’s No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street.
Mc Queen, who is just shy of 21 years, is currently being represented by Attorney-at-Law, Arley Gill, who has replaced Attorney-at-Law, Jerry Edwin in the matter.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Edwin was representing the accused when he pleaded guilty to charges of Attempted Non-Capital Murder, and Assault before Justice Gilford on February 4.
The charges were laid against him in connection with a May 10, 2018 shooting incident, which left the victim with injuries to his left elbow, forearm, upper right side of the abdomen and lower right side of the hip.
The initial charges of Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Ammunition were dismissed following discussions between Attorney Edwin and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Mc Queen was remanded to the Richmond Hill prison pending sentencing set for earlier this month.
However, almost two (2) months later, he instructed his new attorney to file the application to change his guilty plea which was done before the court on March 29.
In presenting the application in court last week Friday, Attorney Gill relied heavily on legal authorities including that of High court judge, Justice Francis Cumberbatch, which speaks to persons who were put under pressure to plead guilty.
Gill told the court that Mc Queen now feels that he was not properly advised by his former attorney and would prefer the matter to go to trial instead.
After listening to the attorney’s submission, the female judge did not allow for the plea to be withdrawn and adjourned the matter to July 12 for sentencing.
Mc Queen, who has nine (9) prior convictions, the majority being harm offences, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment on the Attempted Non-Capital Murder charge and a maximum of five (5) years on the Assault charge.
When contacted for comment Monday on the issue, his former attorney, Edwin told THE NEW TODAY that McQueen was being influenced by his father to change the plea.
Edwin said: “After speaking with him (Mc Queen) he and I decided that it was to his advantage to plead guilty because the evidence was overwhelming … it was my view that given his tender age and that he has a new baby and that he has shown good behaviour at the prison and has entered an early plea, it was my belief that he would have received a sentence of under 10 years”.
However, the Attorney stated that the father of the accused who was footing the legal bill seemed to “have a different view” and he feared that he has now “put his son in legal jeopardy by asking to withdraw the plea.”
“It’s the arrogance of a street lawyer who has seen too much television and believes he knows the law. Hakim Mc queen is a good young man but his father has failed to raise him in an environment of care and concern…this is a good young man, he has a girlfriend who is a scholar at the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC)…” he said.
“I do not want to see Hakim Mc Queen spend the next decade in prison.
I would like to see him come out (of prison) under 30 (years old) with skill and discipline that would have eviscerated the bad parenting received from his father,” the outspoken attorney added.