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By Kadeem Joseph

“I am very sorry it happened. It was a mistake I mek,” an emotional Corey Mills said as his voice cracked during his final statement after he was sentenced in the High Court on Tuesday.

The Clare Hall man was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for the shooting death of 38-year-old Mazem Daher of Syria.

Mills admitted he shot Daher at his restaurant on Old Parham Road when he and co-accused Ian Daniel carried out a robbery at the establishment on April 23 2016 at around 11.30pm.

During her ruling, Justice Ann-Marie Smith indicated that the starting point for Mills’ sentence was 27 years, but due to mitigating factors, the duration was reviewed downwards.

Among those factors was the man’s guilty plea which entitled him to have his sentence reduced by a third.

The judge also considered that the man has a young child, was 20 years of age at the time the crime was committed and is of low intelligence.

Conversely, the aggravating factors in the case included that the robbery was premeditated, the killing was committed during the course of the crime and a firearm was used.

Additionally, the firearm was never recovered, money was taken even after the deceased was injured and the prevalence of offences involving stealing.

Justice Smith also indicated that based on the social impact report, it was obvious to the court that the deceased meant a great deal to his family, noting that Daher’s body was not repatriated to Syria due to the immense cost and the time it would have taken to transport.

She also noted that the Syrian man’s grandmother died in 2019 without the opportunity to say goodbye to her favourite grandson.

The Clare Hall man’s sentence will be up for review after he has served 10 years in prison.

Justice Smith ordered that he should not only receive counselling while incarcerated, but also mandated remedial classes to aid in improving his intellectual capacity as part of his rehabilitation.

Mills’ co-accused Daniel pleaded to the lesser charge of manslaughter and will be sentenced after he undergoes psychiatric evaluation, which was requested by his lawyer.

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