A former army Captain in the disbanded People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA), Peter David says he would like to see all guns taken off the streets on the island.
David who is now a practicing Attorney-at-Law made the comment while engaged in a heated debate in a St. George’s Magistrate’s Court with Police Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Godfrey Victor.
The former solider turned lawyer was making a bail application before Her Honour, Magistrate Tahira Gellineau for six men who are jointly charged with possession of firearms and ammunition.
The suspects – Seon Grant, Anwar Collins, Terrance Roberts, and Shevon Williams all from River Sallee, St. Patrick’s, along with Delon McSween of Tivoli, St. Andrew’s, and Kimei Richardson of Brunswick, Carriacou – were nabbed during a police operation last week Wednesday.
The raid, which was conducted by members of the Drug Squad of the Royal Grenada Police Force, netted 11 rounds of ammunition and two firearms.
Grant and Richardson were apprehended in Carriacou while the other four men were detained at Levera, St. Patrick’s.
ASP Victor who put up a strong objection to the bail application informed the court that in recent times there has been an increase in the number of firearm offences coming before the court.
The Chief Police Prosecutor who provided the court with a brief overview of the case said that members of the Drug Squad were engaged in an operation when they saw a boat with six men on board coming from the direction of Carriacou.
He spoke of the officers taking up position on Levera Beach and observed that when the boat came ashore, two of the men on board came out with two firearms, placed them on the shore and went back to the boat.
It was only after this happened that the other four men alighted from the boat with two bags.
According to ASP Victor, Grant and Richardson then went off with the boat to the direction of Carriacou, leaving the four other men on Levera Beach.
The court was also given an account of the number of previous offenses that three of the men had committed on the island.
Grant who, at age 24 years, became a fugitive from justice for a charge of robbery with violence on June 29, 2011, has 16 previous convictions.
The Police Prosecutor told the Magistrate that this accused still has other matters pending in various other courts.
In the case of Richardson, he has convictions for possession of a controlled drug as he was fined $500 last May, and on March 17, 2014 received a one-year prison suspension to perform community service with the Ministry of Works in Carriacou.
Richardson was also fined $3,000 to be paid forthwith, and $5,000 in compensation for shooting someone with a fish gun in Carriacou.
The Prosecutor informed the court that McSween has three previous convictions, which include housebreaking, stealing, and wounding.
Attorney David pointed out that the accused men were caught at 3:00 p.m. on January 13 after coming from a hunting expedition.
He said it is not uncommon in the local jurisdiction for a group of men from “Sallee” to go on Isle de Rhone to hunt.
He spoke of the four other men who were taken into custody by the Drug Squad at Levera having in their possession two sheep that were shot at Isle de Rhone, one of which was already skinned.
The defence Attorney indicated that the guns involved are 22-calibre rifles, which are normally used for hunting, and the records would show that the guns were not involved in the commission of any crime.
With regards to Grant and Richardson being caught in Carriacou, David said they were sitting at a restaurant having lunch, and that they had no intention of fleeing the State.
He said there is no evidence to show that the men were in possession of illegal drugs although the Drug Squad carried out the operation.
David felt that the charges do not warrant the court to have his clients sent on remand, pointing to the current large number of inmates at Her Majesty’s Prisons at Richmond Hill.
He charged that the prison population stood at 500 inmates as of last Friday and dropped hints that problems are brewing at the institution due to it being overpopulated.
After almost two hours of listening to the submissions put forward by both the Prosecution and Defence, Magistrate Gellineau granted bail to three of the suspects while the other three, Grant, Richardson and McSween were remanded into custody.
The three – Roberts, Williams and Collins – were granted bail in the sum of $20,000 each with two sureties.
As part of the bail condition they will have to report to the Sauteurs Police Station every Monday and Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
All six accused were scheduled to make appearances at the Sauteurs Magistrate’s Court on January 20