Tarish Pit man escapes jail time after pleading guilty to possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition

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Glock 9MM Pistol
Glock 9MM Pistol-Photo Credit online

32-year-old Currowe Abraham of Yam-Piece who resides in Tarish-Pit was asked to stay far from firearms and ammunition for the next three years or he will go to jail for 18-months.

In addition, Abraham who pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed firearm without a firearm and ammunition license was given until March 31, 2023, to pay a fine of $7,500.00.

Facts of the case

Armed with a search warrant for firearms and ammunition, the police Criminal Investigating Department (CID) and the Special Services Unit (SSU) went at the home of Jacqueline Esprit, on May 15, 2022, at 5 am and on arrival met with Abraham in the doorway, he was nude and had in his hand what appeared to be a black coloured pistol.

On realizing that it was the police, he ran back in, he was told about the search warrant for firearms and ammunition and during the search, a Glock 9mm pistol serial number BWPZ251 was found hidden under the couch cushion and asked about it said it belonged to him. Questioned if it was licensed and if he had a firearm and ammunition license he replied “no.”

He was arrested and taken to police headquarters and on May 16, 2022, the police made inquiries at the Inland Revenue and the armory and discovered that the firearm was unlicensed, and he was not the holder of a firearm and or ammunition license.

Mitigating

Defense lawyer Wayne Norde represented him and told the court that his client was a mason by profession and the father of an 8-year-old son. “He is very remorseful for his actions and has fully cooperated with the police throughout the investigations. He has also pleaded guilty at the first given opportunity, and we are asking the court not to impose a custodial sentence on him,” Norde told the court.

He implored the court to take into consideration that the firearm was not used for “the commissioning of a crime or to threaten anyone.” “It was like a mere ornament at his home harmless…my instructions are that he found it a few days before, it looked brand new and never fired, we beg you to temper justice with mercy and impose a non-custodial sentence on him,” Norde pleaded.

Court Sentencing

Magistrate Michael Laudat who presided over the matter stated that “as a Minister of Justice, I must secure the public and I am going to pass a sentence that is deserving to the plight of the Dominican public.”

“You exhibited a level of common sense and that is what prevents me from sending you to jail because you did not use the firearm. The court, however, is concerned about the unlicensed firearms and ammunition in the hands of people and it must stop, you hear the news…someone is shot and killed, hence the public demands I give you a sentence which is not only reasonable, but one that is sending a clear message to society,” the Magistrate stated.

Offenses of firearms he stated are “too prevalent in the State” and the court must impose sentences that can deter others.

“That’s what the public is demanding, you walk the streets and hear the chatter. Although the court cannot be part of the community, in the dispensation of justice, it must take into consideration the concerns of the community.  Mothers are wailing and families are grieving over the wanton use of firearms in the community hence the public is looking up to the court for justice,” Magistrate Laudat said.  

“The sentence of the court for the charge of having in your possession an unlicensed firearm without being the holder of a firearms license is that you pay $7,500.00 with a forthwith fine of $3,500.00 in default six months in jail. You are to pay, $2,000.00 by September 30, 2022, in default six months in jail and the other $2,000.00 must be paid on or before March 31, 2023, in default six months in jail, the sentences are to run consecutively, the firearm and ammunition are forfeited to the State.”

On the charge of possession of ammunition without being the holder of a firearms ammunition license, the Magistrate imposed an 18-months prison sentence suspended for three (3) years.

“You are not to return to the court on any firearms-related offenses until 17, May 2025, if you do, then you will have sent yourself to jail for 18-months,” Laudat told him.

Meantime, 30-year-old Vivenne Green of Tarish Pit, who was also charged along with Abraham for possession of firearm and ammunition without having a firearm and ammunition license walked out of the court a free woman but not before being admonished by Magistrate Laudat.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges and the prosecution led by Inspector Davidson Cadette informed the court that they will not be offering evidence in that matter and asked that the charges be “struck out against her for want of prosecution.”

“Possession of illegal firearms in Dominica is a serious offense that you can be sent to jail for…tell yourself, you right or the police right, but it’s not about right or wrong, it’s about common sense which is in abundance and sadly lacking, you have been given a chance to see your 11-year old daughter grow, go and make the best use of that opportunity,” he told her.