A PRISON term of one year and five months has been handed down to a 21-year-old who held a gun to the side of a 16-year-old as the teen was walking home at night.
During this criminal assault trial held at the Serious Offences Court (SOC) on August 29, many teenage witnesses took the stand.
This included the 16-year-old who Carl Quow menaced with a firearm.
This young man testified that he knows the defendant as “Quow”; that they both live in the same village, but are not friends. The teen said while Quow would speak to him, he wouldn’t really respond.
On Saturday, July 23, 2022, at around midnight, the victim was on the ‘block’, hanging out at a shop. He said Quow tried to talk to him while he was there. It appears that their discussion may have been related to an altercation between the 16-year-old and Quow’s friend.
Sometime after the talk, the 16-year-old decided to go home. He was walking and had reached the gap near the Chauncey Methodist Church when Quow held onto him and put the gun to his left side.
According to the teen, the defendant told him something along the lines of “yuh nah get mouth now.You nah bad again”. In response the 16-yearold laughed, and pulled away his hand. He said another boy then came up to them and said “low him out”.
There was a street light in the area so although it was dark the youngster said he could still see the gun, which he estimated he saw for 20 seconds.
The victim explained that although he was scared when it happened, he laughed.
The next day, after hearing certain things from other young boys in his village, the victim told his sister. They made a report to the police.
Another 16-year-old who is a friend to the victim, saw when his friend was approached and testified about this.
According to this witness he and the victim left the shop at the same time and were walking.When they reached a gap and his friend turned in, the witness saw somebody go over by him, hold him by the neck and put something to his side. He saw his friend laugh.The person then left.
Afterwards, the witness was walking and saw Quow approaching behind him. He started to walk faster and then jog because he was frightened.
The third teen to take the stand was a 13-yearold whose name had been mentioned by the previous witnesses. However, this young boy claimed that Quow is his “pardna”, that he did not know of any incident, and that Quow had never told him anything.
The prosecutor asked him if he was afraid of the defendant, and the 13-year-old said no.
A total of five witnesses took the stand before the prosecution’s case was closed.
The defendant questioned these witnesses, but chose not to give evidence himself or call any witnesses.
At the end of the trial Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne determined that the evidence was such that she could convict Quow of criminal assault.
The court then turned to sentencing.
A criminal record was produced and this showed that Quow had been previously ordered by the Family Court to enrol in a youth club. However, the 21-year-old, who has been working jobs as a labourer since he dropped out of school in form one, had not enrolled.
“Your honour just like if you could place me on a bond or a curfew or something,” Quow asked.
“You had certain directives from a court already and you didn’t abide by it so how is this going to be any different?” the magistrate responded.
She also noted that gun related matters are very scary and that something could have happened in an instant.
She pointed out that the victim and his friend were scared so that the friend had started to walk faster and then jog.
“The kind of terror which you instilled…” Browne commented.
The magistrate observed as well that the 13-year-old witness was scared inside the courtroom.
“That’s not no partner. There is a level of intimidation, there is that age you wield over a young, upcoming talent,” she pointed out.
Prosecutor, Station Sergeant Renrick Cato in his submissions, said that the defendant “is quite fortunate that he was not charged for possession of firearm.”
The penalty for criminal assault is up to two years in prison.
Cato further highlighted the effect the defendant had on the young men, the words that were uttered to the victim, and the fact that Quow had seemingly followed the victim while he was walking home.
He said that there should be zero tolerance for such behaviour.
“We cannot allow persons – although he is not charged with possession of firearm your honour – we cannot allow persons who have (illegal) firearms and using them as if they are legal, especially on our youths.”
As it relates to the youngest witness “having looked at his facial expression, even his composure in the courtroom…” the station sergeant said, “I asked if he’s afraid of the defendant and he stayed long before he answered.”
Cato opined that he is seeing no other sentence but a prison term.
“I am submitting that he needs more time to reflect as a 21-year-old what he wants to do with his life, what he want out of life and what he really, really want to do in the future.”
The magistrate told the defendant that the situation could have been one where “…we would just have heard ‘a body found in Chauncey’.”
“…That could have been the reality. Finding the virtual complainant’s body the next day,” she said, and she wondered what would have happened had there not been a witness.
“Can’t allow that,” the magistrate concluded.
The matter was stood down and the magistrate then returned with a sentence, using the guidelines of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).
She said that the crime falls in the high category for seriousness and consequences. “This firearm was shown in an effort to be aggressive, assertive, and cause intimidation,” Browne stated.
Further, the weapon was carried near a place of worship.
Therefore, the court started at 65% of the maximum penalty, or 1.3 years in prison.
Browne found that the crime was aggravated by: the difference in ages between the defendant and the victim, and “the fact that you were making inquiries as to whether or not the complainant had gone to make a report at the (police) station.”
Two months incarceration was added to reflect this, as there were no mitigating factors of the offence.
Also working against Quow was his previous criminal record of two offences; while on the other hand, he is still young.
As these two factors balance themselves out, nothing further was added or subtracted.
Quow had already been on remand for 34 days and this was to be deducted from his sentence of one year and five months.