From the Courts
November 17, 2017
Deficient statement about firearm upsets prosecutor

A hiccup in the process of a trial about a homemade firearm resulted in a furious prosecutor and a mitigated sentence at the Serious Offences Court.

Romario Bynoe, 22, charged with the possession of one homemade firearm, appeared before the court this Tuesday, pleading guilty to the offence.

Bynoe was brought to the court from Her Majesty’s Prisons, as he is already serving a sentence for two separate charges of illegal possession of ammunition, on the same date, October 15, 2017.

When he appeared in court for the first time, he was also charged with the possession of an imitation firearm, but unlike the offences of illegal possession of ammunition, he pleaded not guilty to this offence. The offence of possession of an imitation firearm was retracted in favour of the offence of possession of a homemade firearm this week.

The facts of the arrest are that the police, as a group, went to the home of one ‘Simon,’ where Bynoe was located, at around 6:30 in the morning of October 15.

Bynoe and Simon, who was also there at the time of the offence, consented to a search of the house. In the defendant’s bedroom, while going through the clothes basket, the police found a red bandana containing something. It was revealed that in this bandana, there was what appeared to be a pistol, which Bynoe said was his gun. He was taken to the SSU (Special Services Unit) base and formally charged there.

After the reading of this statement in the court, prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche rose in anger and, his voice filling the entire court, said he expected, in the statement, to hear that the firearm had composite parts. He said he had a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions last week and they had discussed what ought to be done.

The reason for the prosecutor’s displeasure was that under the Firearm Act of St Vincent and the Grenadines, in order for the item in question to be proven to be a firearm, it must be shown to have composite parts. Therefore, what was critically missing in the statement was evidence from a ballistics expert, showing how the ‘homemade firearm’ was indeed a firearm, with firearm capabilities.

Delplesche then tried his best to assure in his capacity, that the firearm had been examined and found to have composite parts.

Before sentencing, young Bynoe did not have anything to say, but Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias asked him to reflect on his actions.

“You are young. You have found yourself in a position that I would prefer young men not to find themselves,” she stated, further saying, “take some time to reflect. These things cause pain, maybe you aren’t feeling anything, but it’s the family members that suffer. You have to try to do better for them.”

She asked the defendant to focus and said “don’t get carried away by the conversations where you are either,”(referring to prison).

The defendant received a three-month prison sentence, to run concurrently with sentences he already received, which Browne-Matthias stated was in part due to “certain handlings” in the case.

Bynoe was already on a 12-month prison sentence for illegal possession of ammunition.(KR)