Tommy Lee Sparta avoids 15-year sentence | Entertainment

Dancehall entertainer Tommy Lee Sparta could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on gun charges had he not pleaded guilty.

The deejay, whose given name is Leroy Russell, was represented by Donahue Martin and Queen’s Counsel Tom Tavares-Finson in the case which stemmed from his arrest late last year. A vehicle he was travelling in was pulled over and searched by police on December 14. A 9mm Glock pistol with an extended magazine containing 18 rounds of ammunition was reportedly found in the deejay’s waistband. The deejay was subsequently charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Entered into negotiations

Yesterday he was sentenced to three years on the gun charge and two years for the ammunition when he appeared in the Gun Court in downtown Kingston. The sentences will run concurrently.

Martin told THE STAR that the defence team had entered into negotiations with the Crown and the Director of Public Prosecutions under the Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act and “the recommended sentence after the lengthy negotiations was three years” which the judge accepted. Martin noted that for the charge of illegal possession of firearm, the usual range of sentencing is between 10 and 15 years.

But under the Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act, it entitles the individual up to a 50 per cent reduction in sentence if they plead guilty on the first relevant date of the trial.

“He has no previous conviction. That allowed him to have a further reduction and in addition to that, he served three months in custody awaiting this date and that also added to a reduction,” he said. Meanwhile, the artiste’s manager, Nicole Taban, says her label will continue to support the deejay.

“Tommy and his well-being is extremely important to us at Boss Lady Muzik and we will always stand behind him and provide as much support for his career and life,” Taban told THE STAR yesterday.

Tommy Lee Sparta is known for popular songs Under Vibes, Blessings and Power Struggle, a collaboration with Teejay. Taban insists there will be more hits to come.

Speaking to his lyrics ‘ I’m holding on, trying to make it through the storm‘ from the single Holding On, Taban said that she and the management were holding on and are paying keen attention to keeping the artiste’s name active and relevant in Jamaica’s dancehall landscape.

“Of course, there are a lot of surprises in store,” Taban said about unreleased recordings which will be made available despite the sentencing. “He is a very strong and kind-hearted person. We are a family and nothing can break our unity… we stand united in complete support for our family member Leroy Junior Russell.”

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