Having admitted guilt to the “accidental” shooting death of a Belizean police commander two years ago, the daughter-in-law of Lord Ashcroft has been sentenced to prison.
At the Supreme Court in Belize City, where she was scheduled to stand trial for manslaughter by negligence on Wednesday, Jasmine Hartin sobbed as she made her plea.
In order to consider entering a plea to the murder of Supt. Henry Jemmott, her attorneys had urgently requested a postponement of the hearing. The court will reconvene for a sentencing hearing on May 31, which is when it is anticipated to take place.
“I just want Henry’s family to have peace right now,” Hartin said after the hearing, “and I want this whole thing to be behind us all so we can heal.”
Prosecutors gave Judge Ricardo Sandcroft a file containing evidence that would have been unsealed had the trial proceeded at the hearing on Wednesday.
The court was informed that a non-custodial punishment was the norm in cases when the defendant pleaded guilty to the crime.
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As she stood in the little wooden dock to make her hurried plea in the crowded courtroom, Hartin’s voice cracked as tears streamed down her face.
The murdered officer’s daughters and sisters, who have attended judicial proceedings ever since his death over two years ago, kept watch over her.
The father of five was shot in the head and killed while enjoying a late-night beverage with Hartin on the pier next to Lord Ashcroft’s opulent hotel on Ambergris Caye.
The Belizean courthouse was informed that the standard punishment for an offense that results in a guilty plea is a fine and non-custodial term.
Judge Ricardo Sandcroft cautioned Hartin in an earlier hearing that he was “not bound” to the precedent, but suggested he was unlikely to “veer away” from it.
After the judge receives the socioeconomic assessment that will be used to calculate the fine amount, she must return to the same court on May 31 for a sentence session.
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