(Courtesy of our friends at the Gleaner )
Entertainer Ninja Man and his co-convicts have been sentenced to life in prison for the 2009 murder of a Kingston man. The entertainer must serve at least 25 years in prison before he is eligible to be released on parole. His son Janeil and fellow co-convict Dennis Clayton will each have to serve 15 years behind bars. The sentences were handed down by Justice Martin Gayle in the Home Circuit Court a short time ago.
Justice Gayle sentenced Ninja Man, whose real name is Desmond Ballentyne, to 25 years at hard labor for the murder of Ricardo Johnson, popularly known as ‘Ricky Trooper’ and 20 years for shooting with intent in relation to another person. “Thumbs up, judge,” Ninja Man said after his sentence was announced. The others showed no emotion. The three were convicted last month of murder and shooting with intent.
Prosecutors Kathy Pyke and Nicholas Edmund led evidence, during the five-week trial, that the killing stemmed from a domestic altercation in the St Andrew community of Lower Mall Road. According to prosecutors, there was an altercation on the day before Johnson was killed. Ninja Man, his son and Clayton reportedly returned the following day with guns and other weapons. They chased Johnson and another witness through a fence and, as Johnson tried to fend off the attackers, shots were fired and he was hit in the side.
He later died.
Kudos to Judge Martin Gayle who did not allow stardom to influence the decision he made, at the end of the day someone lost his life and someone killed him.
In a country in which murder is at an all-time high and climbing, I salute this judge for staying focused, not allowing himself to be influenced by that stardom.
This not about whether one likes the convicted murderer Desmond Ballentine O/c Ninjaman, it comes down to the rule of law.
We need a society in which justice is blind, a society in which the scales of justice are not swayed one way or the other by who the accused is or who he knows but that he will be judged on the evidence against him.
For years dancehall has been an incubator for violence and violent lyrics.
As a consequence, many within the culture have been named as suspects in all manner of criminal activities including murder. Whether it’s life imitating art or art imitating life dancehall has been an outlet for the youth much the same way it has been a negative medium of indoctrination into doing wrong.
I urge other judges to do their part in helping to stem this murder madness as judge Martin Gayle has.