A Calder resident who threw an illegal firearm outside of his bedroom window when the police went calling has been convicted and imprisoned for just under six years.
David Richards was 26 years old when he was charged earlier this year with possession of an ATI Rochester .22 rifle, serial number A306305 and four rounds of .22 ammunition without a license under the Firearms Act.
The trial looking into the evidence against him took place on Tuesday, October 4, at the Serious Offences Court (SOC).
The first of the prosecution witnesses was ballistics expert, Station Sergeant Julian Cain who testified that the weapon handed over to him by investigating officer, PC 446 Nicos Hope was examined and found to be in good working condition. While holding up the said firearm as an exhibit in court, Cain showed that it was not in its original state, as the lower butt was missing.
The officer also pointed out that there was a section of the gun that could be removed which he said acted as a silencer, used to reduce the noise of the firearm. He said the weapon was designed to kill.
The defendant, who did not have a lawyer, put it to the officer that such a gun was used for hunting and not designed to kill.
Cain maintained that it is designed to kill.
The next witness was a Corporal of police attached to the firearm registry and training office. This person made checks and found that Richards’ name does not appear as a licensed firearm holder.
Next to take the stand was the girlfriend of the defendant. Responding to a question from the prosecutor she said she and the defendant met in July and had just started dating.
On Sunday, August 28, at around 4:00 p.m the couple were at Richard’s house in Calder when the police showed up.
The girlfriend seemed to be finding it difficult to give this evidence and at one point she had to pause. She was given a tissue by one of the court officer’s which she first declined, but Chief Magistrate, Rechanne Browne told her she wanted her to have it. The woman ultimately used the tissue.
She recounted that she and Richards were in the bedroom and both windows were open. When the police announced their presence, Richards dismantled “the weapon” and threw it through the window.
Asked whether this weapon she spoke of was a knife, she said, no, it was a gun.
The police went inside and were searching the house. The girlfriend said she wasn’t paying much attention when one of them “popped up out of nowhere” with a gun. She said she and her boyfriend were taken to the Calliaqua Police Station.
The girlfriend maintained that someone had brought the gun to the house and she knew this because she had stayed there for some time. She said that’s why she kept saying it didn’t belong to her boyfriend because someone came and left it.
The investigating officer, PC Hope gave evidence that on August 28, at around 3:00 p.m, he was on duty with PC 968 Soleyn when they received some information. A search warrant was obtained as instructed by Station Sergeant, Ashlyn Bristol and these officers went to the home of the defendant where they read the warrant to him.
Station Sergeant Bristol and PC Soleyn stayed in the bedroom with Richards’ girlfriend while officers secured the home and searched. PC Hope was searching outside the house when he discovered the firearm in the bushes outside the defendant’s bedroom.
Hope said he cautioned Richards, who questioned whose gun it was, stating that it wasn’t his. He told them that people want to kill him “and they does be walking behind my house.”
His girlfriend said nothing.
When all evidence in the matter was taken, the magistrate convicted the Calder resident.
Using the sentencing guidelines, she sentenced him to five years and 11 months in prison for possession of the firearm and eight months for the ammunition.
These sentences will run concurrently.
The firearm was confiscated.