An attorney is contending that his client, who the court says has nine previous convictions, should not be considered a habitual offender.
Orville Morgan is representing Clive McLauren, 69, who investigators say conspired with a prison warden and an incarcerated man to con Jamaicans interested in purchasing vehicles.
“He doesn’t reach the threshold to be a habitual offender. This is the third time that my client has been charged and he is pleading not guilty to these matters,” Morgan told the court.
His comments came after Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks revealed that McLauren has nine previous convictions for fraud-related offences, two of which were recorded in 2013 and the others happened in 2019, within Kingston and St Andrew. He is currently before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, having pleaded not guilty to obtaining money by means of false pretence, and conspiracy to defraud and forgery. Crooks also indicated that he sentenced McLauren in 2019, when he imposed a fine.
On the last occasion McLauren was before the court, prosecutors indicated that they are awaiting a ruling from the director of public prosecutions to determine whether his matter be transferred to a higher jurisdiction as he is considered a habitual offender.
“Counsel, you said he doesn’t meet the threshold to be a habitual offender but let me address that. He has nine previous convictions; two in 2013 down in Manchester and the rest in 2019 in Kingston and St Andrew, in two parishes, so that is one aggravating factor,” Crooks explained. McLauren has been sentenced for possession of fraud documents, uttering forged documents, uttering a forged driver’s licence, obtaining money by false pretence, uttering forged documents, conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud.
“To be fair to him, Crown will have to make a decision whether you will deal with it here [in the parish court] or apply for it to go downtown [to the Home Circuit Court] but I can’t hold up the man,” Crooks expressed.
He also requested that additional checks be made of McLauren’s criminal records, so that it properly reflects what the accused man was previously sentenced for. McLauren was remanded in custody until September 8 when the matter is to be mentioned.