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Pott walks out of court a free man

Twenty-four-year-old Abimael Pott, who was charged with murder and had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, went home today after Justice Colin Williams, in a lengthy decision commuted his sentence to time served. Justice Williams put the starting point of his sentence to twelve years and he subtracted four years from it because Pott had pleaded guilty and by doing so he was entitled to have that amount of time shaved off. There were no aggravating factors and in consideration of the mitigating factors, Justice Williams subtracted two years from the remaining eight years, which left six years. He said that the time Pott spent on remand should be taken into consideration, which amounted to seven years because Pott was remanded in May 2011. Therefore, the time Pott spent as a prisoner on remand exceeded the remaining six years by one year. Pott, by that calculation, has already served his sentence and he was allowed to go home. Pott’s conviction was for the death of 19-year-old Shamir Gonzalez, a student of Louisiana Government School, whom he had bludgeoned to the back of the neck with a metal pipe during a brawl on the school’s compound on May fourth, 2011. At the first trial, Pott was found guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life. He appealed and Belize Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a retrial. At the retrial, Pott pleaded to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Pott was represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre while the Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Killeru Awich.