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Accused says he had firearm under pillow for protection

Accused says he had firearm under pillow for protection

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A man who appeared at the Serious Offences Court yesterday on a charge of firearm and ammunition possession has been described by his attorney “as not a criminal who would make the police recite the Beatitudes.”

The reference by attorney Grant Connell was made on the heels of comments by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who stated at a press conference this week, “…to the police officers who are on the front-line, when you are confronted, or when you are face to face, or when you are involved in doing your job and you meet gunmen who want to do you harm, or you apprehend harm, or persons with implements of violence, you are not obliged to recite the Beatitudes.”

Connell was defending farmer and businessman Anthony Newbolt of Glen, who was shot on September 6, 2016 at Glen.

Yesterday, Newbolt, 54, pleaded guilty that on Wednesday, October 18 at Glen, he had in his possession a 9 mm Smith and Wesson semi-automatic firearm and 12 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

The gun and ammunition were found under Newbolt’s pillow in his bedroom.

On hearing arguments from both the defence and prosecution, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias deferred her judgment until today, Friday, October 20.

In mitigation, Connell said that Newbolt was a nation builder, as he has 16 children, all of whom he cares for. Connell also told the court that Newbolt owned 16 pigs and was not a man of great means.

The court was also asked to take into consideration that the farmer pleaded guilty at the first possible chance and that he had only in the past been known to the police for something having to do with marijuana.

Connell said that Newbolt was extremely remorseful, but had the firearm for protection, as he had been shot in his leg while riding in a car with Sorono McKie on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

McKie, 24, died after being shot while driving along the Glen public road in a Toyota IST, registration number P5901.

Newbolt was a passenger in the vehicle and was hospitalized at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) for a week. Newbolt told the court that McKie died in his arms in the vehicle and Connell suggested that his client was not only physically scarred, but psychologically scarred as well.

Connell added that for protection, Newbolt went and got a firearm, because his means, appearance and standing in society did not afford him the opportunity to apply for and be granted a licence to carry a gun. Connell said even some lawyers, accountants and businessmen have all tried to get licences and have been denied.

“He did not try that [to get a licence]; we have to deal with reality,” said Connell.

“It was very unfortunate that he had to break the law, but desperate times call for desperate measures,” noted Connell. He added that sometimes the court wants to send a message, but asked to whom the message is being sent.

In response, Delpesche said that the court sends the message, but the receiving of the message is not something that the court can control.

Chief Magistrate Browne-Matthias said that sentencing is not an easy task, “quite difficult”, and as a result remanded Newbolt until today, so that she can have some time to consider.

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