From the Courts
March 21, 2017
Victoria Village resident jailed for gun, ammo

The dreams of a steel bender from Victoria Village to become a police officer were thrown out the window yesterday, when he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Tevin Simmons, 23, was charged that on January 27, 2017 at Victoria Village, he had a .22 semi-automatic pistol, along with two rounds of ammunition without a licence issued under the Firearms Act.

The Serious Offences Court yesterday found Simmons guilty at the end of a two-day trial that began last Friday. Testimony was given during the trial by PC 186 Cornwall, Station Sergeant Nolan Dallaway, Sergeant Cain and Simmons himself.

On Friday, the Victoria Village man testified that he found the firearm and tried to hand it over to a trusted Rapid Response Unit (RRU) police officer who lives in his area, but after two failed attempts, he decided to return home.

The court heard that on his way home, Simmons decided to buy bread and chicken and while at the shop, he saw a police vehicle pull up. He said in a state of panic, he threw the firearm to the ground. Station Sergeant Dallaway, who was heading a patrol unit in the area, quickly recovered the firearm. When he asked who the firearm belonged to, Simmons took ownership and was taken to the Stubbs Police Station.

When questioned, Simmons said he did not take the firearm to the police station, as they would not have believed that he had found it.

Simmons’ lawyer, Israel Bruce, did not deny that his client was in possession of the firearm; he stated that the matter rests entirely on if Simmons’ evidence was genuine. Bruce told the court that he believed Simmons was telling the truth and he did not say that because Simmons was his client.

Bruce maintained that Simmons made two attempts to hand over the firearm to the authorities and his evidence is consistent with the evidence given by the police that the gun was exposed to the elements, showing that it had indeed been found.

According to the lawyer, in circumstances such as those, the law makes provision for Simmons to be found not guilty.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias then adjourned the matter to yesterday, Monday, March 20, 2017, to allow the lawyer to find those provisions. However, when Bruce reappeared before the court yesterday, he said the provision was not in the Firearms Act, but in the Drug and Misuse Act. However, the lawyer opined that the concept remains the same.

He said it was not his intention to mix the Acts, but the body of law allows the provisions to be applicable in both acts when it concerns possession.

However, the Chief Magistrate did not share this view. She said it is unfortunate that Simmons is placed in that position, but he admitted to having the gun in his possession.

Browne-Matthias further stated that she does not believe Simmons’ story, adding that the police station is much closer than the residence of the RRU officer.

“He could have left it right there… it really was poor judgment on your part – taking it and keeping it in your possession.”

She then found Simmons guilty.

During mitigation, Bruce begged for leniency, pointing out that his client is a virgin to the law and dreamt of becoming a police officer.

“He can practically kiss that dream goodbye,” he commented.

Bruce further asked the court to take his client’s age and the circumstances into consideration, although he knows the severity of the offence and the fact that the court has been striving to send a serious message to persons found with the illegal firearms.

Browne-Matthias said Simmons was not a grade six pupil, but a 23-year-old man. However, to his credit, he had no criminal history and was not beyond redemption.

The Chief Magistrate pointed out that such offences are taken very seriously and the court must send a strong message of deterrence.

Simmons was sentenced to five years, as it relates to the firearm and six months for the ammunition. The sentences will run concurrently.

A confiscation order was also made on the weapons. (AS)