Court: Simmons Not Guilty Of Attempted Murder

March 6, 2018

[Written by Don Burgess]

A Hamilton bar owner was cleared of the attempted murder of an alleged leader of a local gang following a trial in the Supreme Court.

Carlton Simmons was also cleared of an alternative charge of wounding with an attempt to do grievous bodily harm.

Mr Simmons, 40, stabbed Jahkeil Samuels in the early morning of August 12, 2017, at the Ambiance Lounge, a nightclub owned by Mr Simmons.

During the trial, Mr Simmons maintained he had acted in self-defence and feared for his life.

In the closing argument, Mr Simmons’ lawyer Saul Froomkin QC told the jury they would be dealing with “nine minutes of his life” and that he was a man that was a community activist and was a former alderman for the Corporation of Hamilton.

When Mr Samuels was at the bar, Mr Simmons had informed the police the alleged gang leader was there.

After bar patrons started to leave because of Mr Samuels presence, Mr Simmons then phoned the Hamilton Police Station and spoke with the duty officer to let him know as well.

Mr Simmons then saw another man who was with the alleged gang leader hand him a package. Mr Froomkin said his client “took it to be gun and he believed it to be a gun” and that Mr Samuels “stuck it in the groin area of his pants.

Mr Froomkin said on the CCTV videotape, “Jahkeil punches Carlton in the head with his right hand. Now here is the critical part…at 2:55.52 on camera 7,  Jahkeil lifts his shirt with his right hand…and he touches his groin area.”

Mr Froomkin said this was symbolic that Mr Samuels was ‘packing a gun,’ and Mr Simmons then reacted with a bladed article, stabbing Mr Samuels for the first time.

“Those few seconds are critical to the fate of Mr Simmons,” the lawyer said, adding that Mr Simmons was faced with three men who were said violent gang members and Mr Samuels was alleged to be the leader and reputed to carry a gun.

When police arrived on the scene, Mr Froomkin said Mr Simmons told them “I acted in self-defence, I thought he was going to kill me.” His closing words to the jury were “I’m asking you to acquit Mr Simmons.”

The seven woman, five man jury found Mr Simmons not guilty on both charges.

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