A teenager who was found with a firearm at the Grenadines wharf will spend the next two years and nine months behind bars for his first criminal offence.
Eighteen year old Jermaine Andrews of Barroullie/Cane Garden was sentenced to jail on Wednesday, February 1, after he pleaded guilty to charges that on January 17, at the Grenadines Wharf he had in his possession one .9mm pistol, make and serial number unknown without a license issued under the Firearms Act. He also had in his possession 24 rounds of .9mm ammunition without a license issued under the Firearms Act.
Andrews was remanded into custody for one week and he re-appeared in the Serious Offences Court for sentencing on Wednesday.
Before handing down the sentence, the chief magistrate, Rechanne Browne said, “it is very unfortunate that young men are taking up guns instead of books…the gun situation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is getting out of control. However, every case must be looked at on its merit as each circumstance is different. “
She found the consequences of the offence to be in category three, or lesser, and the seriousness in the highest category, level A.
This brought the sentence to a starting point of 3.5 years.
However, when the magistrate looked at the aggravating factors of the offence she highlighted the prevalence of firearms, that the possession was over a sustained period, and the gun was well concealed in the vehicle. She also said that Andrews was in a public place, the time of day was aggravating, and the firearm had an extended magazine with 24 rounds of ammunition.
The chief magistrate noted that due to the circumstances surrounding how the gun was acquired it was considered that possession was motivated by revenge.
There were no mitigating factors of the offence. As a result, 14 months were added to the sentence.
Browne found no aggravating factors of the offender, and mitigating for him was his youthful age, his remorse and that he had no previous convictions.
Since there were no aggravating factors of the offender, six months were deducted from the sentence.
He pleaded guilty and this resulted in a 1/3 discount of his sentence.
Andrews will therefore spend two years and nine months in prison for possession of the unlicensed firearm, and one year and four months for the ammunition. Both sentences will run concurrently. He had already spent seven days on remand and this will also be deducted from the total length of the sentence.
A confiscation order was made for the firearm ad ammunition.
According to the facts presented on January, 25,2023 by sergeant Atnel Ash, at about 11:30 a.m on January 17, PC 69 Ashton was part of a party of police officers on duty at the Grenadines Wharf.
While at gate no.7, PC 653 Ambris alerted Ashton of a Nissan Tida car, license plate, PE35, that was entering the gate.
The driver was signalled to stop and he complied. The vehicle was approached by Ashton and a search was requested. Andrews consented to the search and the officer found one black, green and red GUCCI bag containing one black pistol with a black magazine inserted in it under the front passenger seat. The defendant was immediately cautioned and he responded, “Officer everything in the bag is mine.”
Andrews was arrested on suspicion and taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). While there, the magazine was removed from the pistol, and 24 rounds of ammunition were removed and counted in the presence of the defendant.
The firearm was examined by ballistic expert, station sergeant Cain and he found the firearm to be in good working condition. Also, the defendant’s name did not appear in the records as someone having a licensed firearm. Andrews admitted to the offence and was later charged.