Sandy Bay man shaves a year off his sentence
A man sentenced for possession of twenty-five 12-gauge bullets took a shot at reducing his sentence last week, managing to shave a year off his four year incarceration.
Conroy Edwards of Sandy Bay, was sentenced last year, at the end of a full trial, to four years imprisonment for his illegal possession, but his co-accused, Franklin Edwards was completely acquitted.
This time, luck favoured Conroy Edwards, as both his attorney Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, and, the respondents, lead by the Director of Public Prosecutions (Acting) (DPP) Sejilla McDowall, seemed to agree that his sentence should be reduced.
Therefore it was fairly smooth sailing for his attorney to present his case before the Court of Appeal Justices: Davidson Kelvin Baptiste(Acting President), Gertel Thom and Louise Blenman.
Further, unusually, both sides had similar submissions to the court.
The first submission by Bacchus-Baptiste was that the Magistrate “did not appear to properly exercise her sentencing discretion,” because Edwards’ previous convictions should not have been taken into consideration. This was because his previous crimes were committed 16 years prior to last year’s conviction, and thus the law considers them as ‘spent’.
Although the DPP’s submissions did differ to Bacchus-Baptiste’s submissions in that, while McDowall’s suggestion was that the sentence should be reduced to three years, the appellant’s counsel wanted it to be cut in half, to two years.
A three year sentence would be the “upper limit” Bacchus-Baptiste posited, and mentioned a case, where three and a half years was the final sentence, when the defendant had multiple different types of ammunition.
Further, she stated, “It is important to note that the Magistrate, I think, conflated the issues of firearm offences with ammunition offences My Lord,” because she “quoted firearm issues.”
“I reviewed several cases, and found the four years…even after a trial there are cases where a lower sentence would have been imposed,” McDowall explained to the Justices. However, she stuck to her guns in suggesting a sentence of three years, and didn’t go lower.
In the end, the Justices seemed to agree with her, and they allowed the appeal, reducing the sentence to three years, mindful of the fact that the magistrate also seemed add the factor that the offence was planned out into her calculations.
In a joint operation of the police on September 19, 2017, two cars were being kept under surveillance in the Corea’s parking lot when Conroy Edwards exited one of the vehicles with a black plastic bag in his hands. After he stayed in the second car for a while, he reappeared without the plastic bag. A search of the car revealed a black plastic bag under the driver’s seat containing a box of shotgun bullets.