Hartin pleads guilty and escapes jail time
Jazmin Hartin has escaped jail time after pleading guilty to manslaughter by negligence in the shooting death of Superintendent of Police, Henry Jemmott. This morning, Hartin and her attorneys, Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington and Orson Elrington, appeared in the Belize High Court before Justice Ricardo O’Neil Sandcroft. Hartin had requested a sentence indication hearing and was informed by Justice Sandcroft that a guilty plea would have resulted in a fine or compensation. Upon deliberation with her attorneys, Hartin chose to enter a guilty plea, escaping a custodial sentence. Attorney Orson Elrington spoke to the media after the court proceedings, and explained that Hartin’s decision was based on several factors.
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney: “Can tell you heavy on her heart in considering was to not put the family of the victim through the anguish of having to go through a trial proceeding. So she consistently expressed her concern about that and therefore found that it was necessary at this point in time to take the guilty plea and for all parties involved to move on. If you opt for an entire trial than you’d open the can of worms for all possibilities then the judge can render any verdict that he deems applicable including a custodial sentence, including the maximum custodial sentence. The sentence indication hearing is an opportunity for the judge to indicate the confines to which he will render in his sentence and so once it is that he today said that he will give a non custodial sentence that all the case law says that guilty plea to a matter at this point in the proceeding shows that it should have a fine as opposed to confinement he’s limited to a fine. However the quantum of that fine is where he would still have great latitude and as he indicated in the court he would have to go into further research to determine the quantum of that fine nad that is what he would need the time and that will be determined as you would have heard as well based on submissions that will be made later on, I believe our submissions are due by the 26th of May as to what will be the quantum of those either fine and compensation or either of the two.”
Elrington added that the Judge’s decision on whether Hartin will face either a compensation or fine will be decided after final submissions are made and after a social inquiry report and a victim impact assessment are carried out. He says that during today’s proceedings, there was a mix-up with Hartin’s initial social inquiry with the court.
Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney: “Our client expressed the fact that she believed that the social inquiry was concluded but the court records don’t reflect that the social inquiry has been concluded but she has absolutely no issue with going through that process again. I believe that at the end of the day as my client has consistently maintained it is that it is a most unfortunate set of circumstances. It is one for which she is truly remorseful. At the end of the day a life was lost, a life that can never be returned. She has indicated her remorse not only with her words but with her actions in trying to consistently provide assistance to the family. So I don’t know that there can ever be a victory. Nobody ever wins in a situation like this. The only thing that can happen is that the parties involve can now get the opportunity to move on with their lives. She has other proceedings in civil court and in other courts which may or may not be impacted by this but again her matter of paramount consideration was what is in the best interest of the family and what is in the best interest of justice and she felt as though this was the best decision for the family to be able to move on and for herself and her family to be able to move on.”
Hartin’s fame rose significantly after Superintendent Jemmott was fatally shot on a pier in San Pedro Town on May 27, 2021. Following that incident, Hartin had additional court cases surrounding the custody of her two children, as well as drug related charges. She is to return to court on May 26 for final submissions to be made.