âThis is not the Wild Wild West, we cannot allow everybody to have firearms.â
This was magistrate Bertie Pompeyâs warning to Kimron Thomas at the Kingstown Magistrateâs Court on Wednesday, where Thomas was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Thomas, a 25-year-old labourer of McKies Hill, was one of two persons brought before the magistrate on gun related charges, the other being Devon Ashton, a 28-year-old labourer of New Montrose.
Thomas was charged that on August 21 at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Office in Kingstown he had six rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition in his possession without a licence. He was also charged that on August 21, at the CID office in Kingstown he had one nine-millimetre luger semi-automatic weapon with serial number S4M97 without a licence. He pleaded guilty to both charges.
In presenting the facts to the court, the prosecutor said that special patrol was conducting a stop and search operation at the Chauncey main road when they saw PH520 coming from the Rillan Hill direction and stopped it. The driver complied, after which the officers identified themselves as police officers in plain clothes.
There were three passengers in the vehicle who were asked to exit the vehicle. They were searched and arrested on suspicion that a firearm had been thrown from the vehicle.
The men were taken to the CID office in Kingstown. While there, PC 551 Lavia noticed that Thomas was walking awkwardly and when he was searched, a firearm fell from his crotch. PC Lavia then picked it up and showed it to Thomas. The magazine was then removed from the gun and was found to contain six rounds of ammunition.
Thomas, in defending himself, stated that he carries the gun to protect himself, as two years ago while on his way home, he was ambushed by a masked gun man and shot twice with a shot gun, which landed him in the hospital for a few months. He also said he still experiences some discomfort in his hand from time to time.
Thomas was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of the firearm and two years for the ammunition; both sentences are to run concurrently.
Devon Ashton was charged that on August 21 at Chauncey, he had one Hopkins and Allen .38 revolver in his possession without a licence. He was also charged that on August 21 at Chauncey, he had in his possession one round of .38 ammunition without a licence.
Ashton pleaded not guilty to both charges and was remanded in custody, pending a bail review on August 30. His case was adjourned and transferred to the Serious Offences Court for September 4.
Prosecutor Elgin Richards, in his objection to bail, stated that Ashton was wanted by the police for another serious offence and investigators needed more time to complete their investigations.(JWC)