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Tommy Lee gets three years

Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment

Thursday, March 25, 2021

TOMMY Lee Sparta's run-ins with the law came to a head yesterday when he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison for illegal possession of firearm and two years for illegal possession of ammunition in the Gun Court division of the Home Circuit Court in Kingston.

He will, however, serve three years as the sentences are to run concurrently.

The embattled dancehall deejay was represented by Tom Tavares-Finson, QC, and Donahue Martin.

Martin said because the entertainer pleaded guilty, he received a reduced sentence.

“He pleaded guilty... Therefore, the judge had regards for the sentencing guidelines. The judge had regards for the time he served in custody, the fact that he had no previous conviction until now. The judge had regards that he plead guilty on the first relevant date and is entitled to up to 50 per cent discount on the usual starting point,” Martin told Jamaica Observer.

According to Martin, for firearm offences the sentencing can range from 10 to 15 years. However, when a person pleads guilty on the first relevant date, the Criminal Justice Administration Amendment Act entitles the person up to “50 per cent off” on the range of sentence.

Other factors taken into consideration were that the entertainer had already served three months in custody, and he was gainfully employed and a contributing member of society.

On December 14 2020, the entertainer — whose given name is Leroy Russell — was arrested after a vehicle in which he was travelling was intercepted by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The men in the vehicle were searched and a 9mm Glock pistol with an extended magazine containing 18 rounds of ammunition was found in the dancehall artiste's waistband.

Tommy Lee is no stranger to brushes with the law.

In 2014, he was arrested and charged for lottery scamming-related offences after police raided a house in the Kingston 5 area believed to be occupied by the entertainer.

A laptop belonging to the deejay was also seized after it was reportedly found with personal information of several United States residents.

He was freed four years later. Also in 2014, he was denied entry into Dominica after arriving in that Caribbean island to perform at a concert.

The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches protested his appearance. They said the artiste's appearance and music glorify Satan and promote lawlessness and violence. He was deported the following day.

In 2015, the Montego Bay police prevented him from performing on Reggae Sumfest for “fear of patrons' safety”.

The following year, he was listed as a person of interest by detectives in the Kingston Eastern Division.

At that time, it was in relation to a shooting incident on Saunders Avenue in the Kingston 2 section of the Corporate Area.

In 2017, the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay requested Tommy Lee Sparta turn himself in for questioning in relation to a shooting in the Flanker community during the Christmas season.

He was cleared in both instances.

In March 2020, Tommy Lee Sparta's six-year-old daughter was shot during an altercation involving three men in Flanker. A nine-year-old boy was fatally shot in that incident.

A former member of Vybz Kartel's Portmore “Gaza” Empire, Tommy Lee Sparta got his break in 2012. He is known for songs including Spartan Soldier, Spartan Angel, Psycho, and Rich Badness.

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