From the Courts
March 3, 2017
Arnos Vale man gets 5 years for gun, bullets

A five-year prison sentence was handed down to Arnos Vale resident Carlos Lewis last Monday, February 27, after he was found guilty of having a firearm and ammunition in his possession.

When Lewis appeared before the Serious Offences Court last month, he pleaded not guilty to the charge that on January 25 at Arnos Vale, he had in his possession one 9mm Lugar semi-automatic pistol, serial number unknown, without a licence issued under the Firearms Act.

Both items were found as a result of a search warrant executed at Lewis’ home by a group of Rapid Response Unit (RRU) officers, headed by station Sergeant Nolan Dallaway around 5:50 a.m.

In his evidence, Station Sergeant Duane Bailey, who was one of the RRU personel, said he knocked on the door and shouted ‘Police’ multiple times, but got no response. He said on looking through a window, he saw other persons in the house and Lewis trying to climb up a wall.

Bailey told the court that when he entered the house, he climbed up where he had seen Lewis climbing, which led him into a manhole in the ceiling, where he found the firearm. PC Caesar, another member of the RRU team present during the search, also took the stand, giving evidence that supported Bailey’s statement.

During the proceedings, Lewis’ lawyer Grant Connell made a no case submission and argued that the evidence given by the police officers did not show his client to be in physical possession of the firearm. He further argued that three persons were in the house, none of whom accepted ownership of the firearm. Connell noted that the two other men who were in the house were not charged, although one is a known criminal.

In a counter-argument, prosecutor Elgin Richards said Bailey saw Lewis and although he did not see him with the firearm, the court must question what Lewis was doing coming from a manhole in the ceiling at that time of day. The prosecutor added that no evidence was adduced that leads the court to believe that the two other men went into the manhole.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias dismissed Connell’s no case submission and Lewis, when he took the stand, denied owning the firearm and said he did not put it in the roof. He also claimed that it was impossible to see from outside the house, where Bailey said he had seen him.

On Monday, around 4 p.m., the court went to Lewis’ home to visit the scene and when they returned, Richards said one could clearly see from outside where Lewis had climbed. He went on to state that the Crown had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt.

Connell disagreed with Richards’ statement and pointed out that possession must consist of custody, control and knowledge. According to Connell, a firearm was found, but in this case the prosecution cannot prove possession.

Chief Magistrate Browne-Matthias, however, said she was satisfied with the evidence produced by the Crown. Richards then advised the Chief Magistrate to hand down a sentence proportionate to the seriousiousness of the offence, drawing reference to last year’s homicide count. The prosecutor also pointed out that an aggravating factor was that the firearm was found loaded with a round of ammunition. Lewis was sentenced to five years in prison in relation to the firearm and eight months for the ammunition. The sentences will run concurrently. (AS)