A MAN from Dorsetshire Hill who was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2018 on charges of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition and recently released, is returning to prison as he has been sentenced to five years on similar gun related charges.
Shane Nichols, a 28 year old resident of Dorsetshire Hill appeared in the Serious Offences Court (SOC) on September 27 to answer two charges.
The defendant was charged that on September 25, in Dorsetshire Hill he had in his possession one 9mm semi- automatic firearm, make and serial number unknown without a license issued under the Firearms Act. He was also charged that on the same date, in Dorsetshire Hill he had in his possession 16 rounds of .9mm ammunition without a license issued under the firearms Act.
The defendant pleaded guilty to both charges. Nichols is no stranger to the court as in March 16, 2018 he was charged with the offence of having illegal possession of a .38 revolver and five rounds of .38 ammunition. He was sentenced to three years for possession of the revolver and seven months for possession of the ammunition for that offense which ran concurrently.
Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne told the defendant that as an adjudicator she has to consider the consequences and seriousness of the offence and circumstances involved. She therefore placed in the highest category with respect to the sentencing. She also found the seriousness of the offence to be in the highest category as well. The chief magistrate added, “you have a firearm with 16 rounds of ammunition so you’re well in excess of the minimum threshold required even at the highest level” She further outlined the aggravating features of the offence and described them as “many.” Browne said that Nichols appeared to be motivated by revenge as he stated that, “persons are after me.” She further commented that he had possession of the firearm over a sustained period of time as under caution, the defendant stated, “officer let me be real with you, I have had this for a while now.” The chief magistrate then said, “when I take into context your history, you stated that you just came out of jail” on an offense of a similar nature and, “that makes it particularly aggravating… you are just out for firearm and ammunition and here you are again, immediately, thereafter going right back to what put you in prison, not seemingly to have learnt any lesson at all from that conviction.”
She then went and highlighted that the firearm was concealed and in the defendant’s waist, fully loaded with 16 rounds of ammunition. This was aggravating because when the officers intercepted the vehicle and stated their objectives and purpose of the stop and search they asked the occupants including the defendant “ do you have anything to declare in this vehicle?” The defendant responded “no.” He shook his head and said he didn’t have anything to declare. However, the officers being vigilant in performing their duties conducted a search of the vehicle and a female officer on searching the defendant patted him down and realizing a hard object was in his waist, pulled up his shirt to reveal the firearm.
The magistrate said that the female officer’s life was at risk, as well as that of all the other members of the search party because the declaration made by the occupants of the vehicle was that they had nothing to declare yet, a fully loaded concealed weapon that was ready to be discharged at any moment was discovered. “The whole team was in jeopardy” the magistrate said.
She then commented on the time the discovery was made that: “This is in the night, now persons move at those hours, if you are threatened or under threat the obvious common-sense approach would be to stay safe and keep indoors.Why then are you wandering out with a fully loaded weapon”? To make others unsafe”? the magistrate asked.
When accessing the mitigating factors of the offence, the magistrate said that she found “absolutely none.”Therefore, “when I weighed the aggravating against the mitigating factors, they far outweighed, clearly the mitigating factors.”
The magistrate then considered the aggravating and mitigating factors for the defendant himself. She said, “you just got convicted for firearm and ammunition and you’re right back, just being released shortly, that is extremely aggravating to me.” She noted that the mitigating factors included that he is still relatively young, being 28 years old, but at the same time, he is more mature than he was three years ago and she felt that his mindset should have improved but it hadn’t.When she weighed the aggravating and mitigating factors they balanced out and nothing was added nor subtracted from the sentencing. She also highlighted that the defendant pled guilty so that went to his credit.
The magistrate sentenced the defendant to five years in prison for possession of the unlicensed firearm and two years for the possession of 16 rounds of ammunition. Both sentences will run concurrently. She ended with some words of advice to the defendant saying “Take this time to reflect on what is important to you, the same way you are carrying a gun, others may be carrying a gun too and guns take lives…” She added, “you seemingly have no regard for your family either because anyone thinking of them would think twice to want to repeat the acts that have caused them the stress, use this time wisely because you are not going down a path that is beneficial to you.”