A BUSINESSMAN who acted as a mule for 37 rounds of bullets, dodged an immediate jail sentence this week, and was fined $7,500.
Oscar King, who was charged in August of this year with possession of 37 rounds of .40 ammunition without a license, chose to enter a guilty plea at the Serious Offences Court (SOC) on Tuesday, November 3.
The 35-year-old jeweller was found with the bullets at his store in Lower Middle Street Kingstown on August 14. Acting on information received, Corporal 615 Williams headed a party of Rapid Response Unit (RRU) officers to King’s business place. The RRU, at around 1:12 pm, executed a search warrant for arms and ammunition at the store. While searching, they uncovered a grey toolkit under the counter and this was removed, and opened. This action revealed a black plastic bag, and while the police proceeded to open this, King apparently informed them “Officer, is 37 bullets dey in the bag.” This was found to be accurate. After the Corporal cautioned the businessman, he disclosed “Officer is a man bring them here and another man supposed to come collect them, but I take full responsibility” for them.
King’s lawyer was counsel Charmine Walters, who in her submissions noted that her client was used as a mule just to collect the bullets, and that he was asking for a second chance. She also noted that it was always his intention to enter a guilty plea since the inception.
Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche informed Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne that he has knowledge that the defendant’s intention from day one was to plead guilty, which should go to his credit.
He said that he too drew the conclusion that the young man was a mule. Delplesche commented that it was unfortunate for him (King), and noted that prosecution is not, in his opinion, persecution. “Where a man falls short does not necessarily make him a criminal,” the prosecutor commented.
The magistrate stood down the matter before delivering her sentence, and therefore King sat at the Prisoner’s section for some time. After sitting on tenterhooks for a while, anticipating what the outcome will be for an offence that often attracts a jail sentence, the defendant was ultimately fined. Of the $7,500, he had to pay $2,000 forthwith or spend four months in prison, and the balance of $5,500 by December 31, or spend nine months in a jail cell.