Laden to face music

Laden to face music

Sentencing set for Dec 15

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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EMBATTLED dancehall singjay Laden pleaded guilty on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition when he appeared in the St Elizabeth Circuit Court in Black River yesterday afternoon.

Laden, whose given name is O'Keele Aaron, appeared before High Court Judge Justice Evan Brown with his attorneys Thomas Levene and Jodi Taylor.

According to a Jamaica Observer source, Laden admitted in court that he was the owner of the firearm which was reportedly tossed from the sunroof of a motor car during a police chase on October 28. The The 33-year-old entertainer has been in police custody since.

He is also charged with breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act by being on the street after the islandwide 9:00 pm curfew, and failing to stop at the request of the police.

Asked as to why Laden pleaded guilty, his attorney, Levene, said it was the only “way out” for his client.

“Mr Aaron had given specific instruction to me and, having looked at his instructions and having looked at what the law says, it was explained to him the situation he was in and he understood that the only way out is for him to accept responsibility — and that was when things took a turn and he decided to amend his representation,” Levene told the Observer.

Laden was previously represented by attorney-at-law Charles Benbow. He is set to be sentenced on December 15.

The court ordered a social enquiry report, while Laden's attorneys indicated that they will be calling for character witnesses at sentencing.

Two other people arrested with the entertainer — Saaion Ebanks, 21, and his 16-year-old brother — were acquitted of gun charges yesterday, after the prosecution — led by Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Taylor, QC — withdrew charges against them.

According to the police report, about 10:40 pm on October 28, lawmen were in Cheapside, St Elizabeth, when they signalled the driver of a black Mercedes-Benz motor car to stop.

The driver initially complied, but sped off when the police approached. A chase ensued and during the chase an object was seen being thrown from the sunroof of the car.

When the police caught up with the vehicle the occupants were arrested and taken back to the site where the object was witnessed being thrown from the car.

The area was searched, and a pistol recovered.

Laden was a top 10 finalist on Digicel Rising Stars in 2006.

His songs include Time to Shine, Really Like You, I'm Sorry, She Like It and Come Mek Mi Touch Yuh.

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