From the Courts
September 11, 2015
Charles sentenced to jail for drugs, firearm possession

Karon Charles, 24, a resident of Richland Park, on Tuesday, September 8, was fined $650 and sentenced to one and a half years in prison after being found guilty of having in his possession 18 grams of marijuana and a firearm with one round of ammunition without a licence.{{more}}

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias handed down the sentence following a two-day trial at the Serious Offences Court.

The Chief Magistrate rejected the pleas of Charles’ lawyer, Israel Bruce, that his client be spared a custodial sentence.

According to the facts, Charles was apprehended on August 21, when Police Constable 242 Darron Baptiste of the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) was on mobile patrol in the Richland Park area. He observed the defendant running as the police transport approached the ‘Night Shift’ shop.

Charles was appehended by Corporal 723 Nolan Dalloway who, along with officer Baptiste, alighted the transport in pursuit of Charles and retrieved the bandana which he had thrown behind an old stove. The bandana contained one .38 single shot pistol and one round of ammunition.

Charles was taken to the Mesopotamia Police Station, where he was further searched. Eighteen grams of cannabis were found hidden in his crotch, to which he pleaded guilty when he appeared in court.

Charles, however, pleaded not guilty to possession of the firearm, stating that he knew nothing about it and it did not belong to him.

In his closing arguments, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpeche argued that Charles “knew he had the gun and the weed in his crotch and that’s why he run.” He said the court “must apply what is believable.”

Bruce, the defense counsel, said he found it interesting that the “Prosecution didn’t include the four persons mentioned by the defense witnesses, and the reason for this is the fact that it would be difficult to prove that of the four persons who ran, Charles was the one who threw the bandana.”

The Chief Magistrate, however, stated that “it’s a firearm, whether functional or not…we know it’s functional… What was clear is, it is designed to kill.”

In mitigation, Bruce begged for leniency, telling the court that Charles is the father of three children, ages eight, three and one.

This prompted the Chief Magistrate to ask Charles with whom his oldest child resides. It was revealed that the child lived with its mother.

The Chief Magistrate then handed down the sentence.

On the charge of marijuana possession, Charles was ordered to pay $150 forthwith or face one week in prison. On the ammunition charge, Charles was ordered to pay $500 forthwith, failing which he will serve three months imprisonment and on the firearm charge Charles was sentenced to serve one and a half years imprisonment.