Just In: Diverse viewpoints on $300K fine for Sevana re deadly traffic collision

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This week’s featured development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended is the matter of mixed reactions to reggae singer Sevana’s fine of $300,000 after she pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving charge, thus escaping prison time.

In Jamaica, the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving is five years behind bars at hard labor, but quite often, offenders are not imprisoned in such cases, but instead, are fined significantly.

Thursday’s sentence of a $300,000 fine or two years in prison which was handed down to Sevana by High Court Judge, Justice Courtney Daye, has been met with outrage from some individuals across social media, while others have welcomed the sentence, given that it allows the artiste’s promising career in music to be continued without any major interruption.

Amid it all, the family of 32-year-old Ordia Cordial, the woman who died as a result of injuries she sustained in the May 2021 crash, remain angered by the sentence for causing the death of their loved one in the traffic collision, to which Sevana pleaded guilty on October 31.

Also displeased with the sentence is the female driver of the car in which Cordial was a passenger.

That driver has since expressed her desire to take civil action against the entertainer. It is not clear whether the family of the deceased will be taking any similar legal action.

In addition to her sentence in the Westmoreland Circuit Court, the ‘Mango’ singer also had her driver’s license suspended for two years.

Reports are that in May of last year, Sevana was traveling along the Scott Cove main road in Whitehouse, Westmoreland, when the Honda City motorcar she was driving collided with a Honda Fit car that was traveling in the opposite direction.

Cordial, who was a passenger in the Honda Fit, sustained severe injuries and was subsequently admitted to the Black River Hospital. She died on May 30, 2021.

The female driver of the Honda Fit was hospitalized after sustaining multiple injuries, including fractured ribs.

The 30-year-old Westmoreland-born singer, whose real name is Anna Blake, wept in court during Thursday’s proceedings, reports stated.

Victim impact statements were read in court for the judge to consider in arriving at an appropriate sentence.

The driver of the Honda Fit, in her statement, said she had to deal with medical bills, months of therapy, and other psychological and financial challenges.

Cordell’s sister, in her victim impact statement, said the death of her loved one had caused her overwhelming grief.

Before starting the faith of the artiste, the judge said the statements did little to sway his hand towards enforcing a tougher penalty on Sevana, as her risk of repeating such an offense is low.

Further, Justice Daye said the artiste herself suffered injuries, and she has also been emotionally affected by the crash.

Sevana’s attorney, Everton Dewar, said his client is happy that the matter is now behind her.

“Sevana is just glad that she will be able to get on with her life. The case was taking an emotional and mental impact on her,” Dewar said.

Known for singles such as ‘Mango’, ‘If You Only Knew’, and ‘Man Down’, Sevana is on the rise as one of the new wave of reggae singers locally.

Perspectives on sentencing have generally been mixed, with some persons being critical of the judiciary.

“… Jamaica justice system is a joke…,” posted Camille Bernard, a Facebook user.

Said another user, Paulette Jackson: “That’s a very poor choice of words from her attorney.

“She (Sevana) can get on with her life, but… that woman (Ordia Cordial) has been taken permanently from her family.”

Anneka Chambers shared: “300K fi the ppl dem life; the justice system not fair”.

Another social media user, Leighton Murray, however, disagreed with the criticisms of the sentence, the justice system, and Sevana’s attorney.

“Putting her (Sevana) in jail won’t bring her (the deceased) back. Sorry, she (the victim) is gone, but you can’t be so evil hardened to wanna hurt the girl (Sevana),” he wrote.

“Though Sevana is at fault, she is also a victim of herself and her mistake.

“Remember your sister’s precious moments and keep her legacy, let go and move on,” said Murray about a media report that the victim’s family walked out of court in a show of displeasure at the sentencing.

Cranston Kelly somewhat agreed with Murray.

“I hope all who say she (Sevana) should go to prison, they or a family member don’t find themselves in Sevana’s shoes.

“It’s an unfortunate situation all-round. Sending her to prison for 100 years won’t bring back the deceased person. My God, it’s (it was) an accident,” said Kelly.

Shellie James expressed sympathies to both the grieving loved ones and the artiste.

“Bwoy it rough on both sides. I drive and (if) any such incident should happen to me, God forbid, the trauma would be too much,” she admitted.

“I really wouldn’t like to involuntarily send anyone into eternity. Please Lord, may time and forgiveness heal all wounds,” James posted.

While expressing satisfaction that Sevana was not imprisoned, Facebook user, Kyle Brown, was not impressed by the fine that was imposed by the judge.

“It’s good she (Sevana) wasn’t sent to prison. What is not pleasing is that she should pay finer, at least three million. That 300, O00 fine is supermarket money for a month,” he suggested.

Shelly-Ann Campbell wrote: “Wow! I’m glad you (Sevana) were not jailed, ’cause this could have been anybody as long as you sit behind the wheel.

“I pray you to reach out to the family of the deceased, offer them your sincere apology and they find it in their heart to forgive you. I also hope the Lord has provided them with comfort and they do not feel offended/insulted by this fine,” she stated.

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