From the Courts
January 23, 2009
Eight men freed of gun, ammo charges

Will the community of Redemption Sharpes ever return to being the peaceful, quiet community that it once was, or would the violence and crime in the area continue to spiral out of control?{{more}}

So wondered Chief Magistrate Sonya Young, as she sternly warned eight young men from the community, who were freed of guns and ammunition charges.

Alvin, Orandi, Ellsworth, Omerie and Esron Antrobus, Olanzo and Garvet Forster and Earl Jack, all in their early 20s, were charged with the possession of a .45 semi-automatic pistol, one .32 revolver and over 90 bullets.

The charges against the men were dismissed after Chief Magistrate Young ruled that the prosecution failed to connect the arsenal to the men, who were arrested in a house at Redemption Sharpes on Friday, April 25, 2008, during a raid. The guns and ammo were found outside the house, concealed in a piece of pipe.

Before sending them out of the courtroom, the magistrate delivered a tongue lashing to the youths, urging them to change their ways and warned them of the consequences to themselves and their community if they refused.

“I believe you all know about these guns. If you know you are linked to these guns you can thank God today. Take this as a lesson and stop the nonsense.

“My grandmother used to say ‘night does run ’til day catch him’; think about it the next time you are wielding a gun, that there is always someone with a bigger gun and less morals who would take you out in a flash.

“Now is the time to make a change; I never want to see any of you again. If you are caught, you will be dealt with severely – if you are not, you will be dead,” Magistrate Young warned.

Magistrate Young thanked God that the guns were off the street.

The Sharpes community had been in the headlines over the last two years, thanks to a series of gun related incidents that have left several young men dead or wounded.

These include 20-year-old Lenford Smith who succumbed to gunshots on May 13, 2007.

His 24-year-old brother, Andy, survived a gun attack on June 21, 2008, but was able to kill his assailant, Stafford McDowall.

McDowall’s older brother Kimron, 25, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant, in February that same year.

In June 2006, Wendell ‘Copper’ Antrobus, father of the Antrobus brothers, was robbed at his bakery, and in January 2008 the baker survived an assassination attempt, when he was shot once in the head.

“How long are we going to continue with this madness? I will never understand it!” the magistrate snapped.

“People are afraid to go to Sharpes – the community is being destroyed; everything is hard and they are just making it harder!

“Where are our young men heading?

“Each one is strong and should be able to make a contribution.”