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A 42-year-old tattoo artist who had no previous criminal record, and shocked his community when he was charged and convicted of attempted murder, has been sentenced to nine years in jail.

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On Wednesday, April 8, Joseph ‘Joey’ Bailey was sentenced at the High Court for the attempted murder of Patrick Nero, and the possession of a firearm with intent to commit an offence.

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He had been charged with three offences, but after a full trial, the jury convicted him of two. They believed that Bailey, on April 9, 2017, at approximately 10:30 pm, approached Nero, who was seated alone on the verandah of his liquor and provision shop located at Bay Street. When Nero felt a presence at his side, he turned to face Bailey, who he knows well, but is not friendly with. Bailey was pointing a firearm at him, Nero said, and discharged this at him twice.

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He was struck on the top of his head and the side of his chest, and received injuries the left and right sides of his chest, left arm and forehead.

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Bailey then fled

Before sentencing, a social inquiry report is usually prepared, and the Ministry of National Mobilisation also did so in Bailey’s case

“In the 20 years that I’ve been practicing, I’ve never seen a more glowing report,” defence attorney Ronnie Marks commented

“Usually you find one person in the community that will have something bad to say, or something negative,” he said, but noted that the only negative comment was one made about the complainant, Nero

His client was 40 when the offence was committed, and before this, the lawyer disclosed, he had “not a single conviction, not even a traffic violation, and we ask that the court place significant weight on the life that he has lived so far.”

Furthermore, four individuals ventured to the courtroom and gave commentary attesting to Bailey’s character as an honest person and a diligent father

Bailey’s girlfriend of many years noted that he is a good father to his four children, who are between six and 21 years old

The girlfriend noted that the incident has affected his children. She said they were struggling with bills and rent, and now they have been laid off

In commenting on the social inquiry report, Justice Brian Cottle also noted, “He had no reputation for violence, residents were shocked to learn that he had been charged for the offences for which he was later convicted. No one had anything negative say about the prisoner.”

“The virtual complainant, on the other hand, was described as a drug dealer, who was very cantankerous and frequently involved in conflict with others,” Cottle stated, and who has been recently incarcerated for another offence

In his victim statement, Nero indicated that he wanted no sympathy for Bailey, and asked for the full penalty to be applied. Nero remains “quite mad” about the attempt on his life, and said that he still experiences pain in his chest, and has had to pay thousands on medication

For attempted murder, considered a very serious offence, Bailey was sentenced to nine years. For the second offence of possession of a firearm with intent, a concurrent sentence of five years was handed down. Bailey has already spent three weeks in prison

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