From the Courts
March 23, 2018
Three-year jail term for gun and ammunition

The keen eye of one police officer, which picked out a suspicious man and a suspicious bulge, has resulted in a conviction for an illegal gun and ammunition possession. 

 PC 41 Campbell was among a party of plain-clothes officers, headed by Corporal 209 Chambers, that set out from the Questelles Police Station at 10:45 p.m. last Friday, March 16, on foot patrol around Campden Park.

 When the officers got near one ‘Josette’s shop’, they came across a group of men smoking what looked like marijuana.

 While the officers, who had identified themselves as police at this point, were searching some of the men, PC Campbell spotted a man. who later identified himself as Shane Nichols, trying to step away.

 Armed with his flashlight, the officer approached Nichols and began a search of his person. He observed the defendant was sweating.

 Becoming more suspicious, the police officer raised Nichols’ t-shirt and observed a bulge in the crotch area.

“Nothing, officer!” Nichols replied, when asked what it was. Campbell continued the search and found the gun, loaded with the rounds of ammunition. 

 Nichols then said to the officer: “Officer, me ain no trouble man, me real sorry.” 

 After finding out that Nichols did not have a firearm licence, he was arrested and taken before the Serious Offences Court on Monday, charged with illegal possession of a .38 revolver and five rounds of .38 ammunition. 

 His attorney, Richard Williams, in mitigation, described Nichols as a gainfully employed carpenter, who works with his father.

 Williams said that Nichols, indicating he is not a ‘trouble man’, is buttressed by the fact that he had no previous convictions before the court. 

 The attorney stated that Nichols was before the court because of the company he keeps and that a friend had asked him to keep the gun for him.

 However, prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche highlighted the seriousness of the offence, referring to a record of the Court of Appeal, which indicates that there were too many gun crimes in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

 He said that the Appeal Court indicates that it was the duty of the court when a person is convicted of gun crimes to act accordingly and asked the Chief magistrate to impose a four-year sentence.

 Williams, reminding the Chief magistrate that she had a discretion to reprimand and discharge, reasoned that for a first-time offender, a four-year jail term was too much, and instead asked for 18 months. 

 After standing the matter down for consideration, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias noted that the aggravating features were that Nichols had a loaded firearm in a public place and that the offence was serious. The mitigating factors she listed were that the firearm had not been discharged and that there had been no injury. However, she noted that the arrest could have gone wrong very quickly. 

 She handed down a sentence of three years for possession of the revolver and seven months for possession of the ammunition, to run concurrently.