From the Courts
September 23, 2016
Ottley Hall man jailed for illegal gun

Chaos erupted outside the Serious Offences Court yesterday morning after an Ottley Hall man was sent to prison for the illegal possession of a firearm.

Delano McDonald was sentenced to four years in prison by Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias after he was found guilty of possession of an unlicensed 9 mm automatic firearm, serial number CAT 8686. The gun was discovered in a bedroom of his homeon June 3 this year.{{more}}

McDonald’s mother, who burst into tears when the sentence was read by the Chief Magistrate, was asked to leave the court. Officers trying to hold onto the distraught woman were chided by her.

“Don’t touch me,” said the angry woman as she stormed from the court and proceeded to the courtyard where she bawled openly.

As a journalist attempted to take her photograph, she turned around, bent over, raised her dress and exposed her bare buttocks to the camera.

According to the court, at around 6:30 a.m. on June 3, officers, acting on information went to McDonald’s home where they executed a search warrant.

Officer Hadley Ballantyne said that McDonald took about five minutes before he answered the door and when they were eventually let into the house, they realized that structure was unfinished. He said that they went straight to McDonald’s bedroom where they searched his chest of drawers and found a silver firearm.

Ballantyne said that when McDonald saw the firearm, he remarked, “That nah good, it never fire yet, I can get a better one off the street.”

Ballantyne’s testimony was backed up by Officer Gamal Bowens.

McDonald was then taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) where he was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm after officers determined that McDonald did not have a license to hold a gun.

McDonald, in his defence, said that he had never seen the gun before the officers found it in his drawer. He said that he has a brother who works in the Grenadines, but admitted under cross examination by Prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche that the room where the weapon was found was his bedroom.

McDonald noted that the night before he was arrested, a number of friends were at his home playing Fifa 16, a video game, and because he was losing, he went to sleep and left them in his bedroom.

However, at no time did McDonald say that the gun was placed in the drawer by one of his friends or his brother. He denied that he commented to the officers that the gun was not working or that he could get a better one.

McDonald also noted that he had no key for his home and he could not lock the door when he left but he could lock it when he was inside.

He said that he asked to use the washroom during the search and when he came back, the officers found the gun. Officer Ballantyne denied this, stating that McDonald only left for the washroom after the gun was discovered.

McDonald said that when he was taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), he was taken to an office where he was questioned about the gun, at which time he denied knowledge of it. He said that he asked to see the gun and it was given to him and he cranked it and saw that it had a large hole in the barrel that he thought rendered the firearm inoperable. He noted also that Officer Ballantyne had dropped the weapon at his home.

He said also, that while at CID, an officer asked him about persons in his neighbourhood and he told them that he did now know much about persons living at Ottley Hall.

During the trial, Browne-Matthias told McDonald that he should be careful of the questions he asked while Prosecutor Delpesche also noted that McDonald’s mouth had put him in trouble.

The Chief Magistrate, in sentencing McDonald said that she had to take a number of things into consideration. She noted that he did not plea guilty but went into a trial that lasted two days and that she had to look at his antecedents.

On reviewing McDonald’s rap sheet, the Chief Magistrate raised her eyebrows and said that while she would not read out his record in court, his past showed that he was involved in a number of activities that showed he was not heading down the right road.

In response, McDonald said that he had left that life behind and was integrally involved in his community where he coaches the youth in soccer.

Stressing that the charge carries a maximum of seven years, the Chief Magistrate said that she took the guilty man’s age, 25 years old, into consideration as his age showed that he could be rehabilitated.

She said that the charge was a serious one seeing what is happening in society these days and she had to send a warning to would be offenders.

“I take no joy or pleasure in handing out these sentences but we have to look at the bigger picture,” said Browne-Matthias in response to the outburst by McDonald’s mother before she was sent from the courtroom.

A sentence of four years means that McDonald will spend a total of three calendar years in prison as a prison year is set at nine months. He is expected to serve his sentence at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility.(LC)