Young businessman freed of gun charge
An Arnos Vale resident is no longer facing a charge for having is his possession a Uzi, a prohibited weapon; after his lawyer succeeded in an argument based on a technicality.
When Lequan Robertson, a businessman in his early twenties, first appeared in court on June 24, 2020, he had been charged with three offences.
Firstly, that on June 23, 2020, at Arnos Vale, he assaulted Dominic Frederick, a 27-year-old businessman of Kingstown Park, by pointing a gun at him. This was taken off the list after the prosecution withdrew, based on Frederick’s desire to do so.
Robertson was also charged that on the same date, he was in possession of one Uzi (submachine gun) pistol, a prohibited firearm, serial number unknown, and that he had this without the authorisation of the Minister of National Security.
Further, that he was in possession of a firearm without being the holder of a license under the Firearm’s Act.
However, during the trial, the charge of firearm possession without a license was withdrawn, to proceed solely on the charge of possession of a prohibited weapon.
In hearing the prosecution’s case, the Serious Offences Court(SOC) heard evidence that a party of Rapid Response Unit(RRU) personnel went to execute a search warrant at the home of Robertson at Arnos Vale. The defendant was said to have been met at his home. The warrant was shown and read to him. The officers searched Robertson’s person, and found nothing. They searched his bedroom and found nothing.
However, it was alleged that Robertson then said to one of the officers that since they “goes well”, he would take him to where the gun is located. The evidence of the prosecution had been that the officers were taken to an area outside, where a brown box was opened to reveal a smaller suede black box with a gun and a magazine inside. A closer examination had supposedly revealed that it was an Uzi.
The former defendant had apparently said that this wasn’t his.
Station Sergeant Cain, a ballistics expert, gave evidence that the firearm he examined was an automatic firearm, calibre 9mm, that with one squeeze, could discharge all the rounds in the magazine. The capacity of the magazine is said to be 32 rounds. It is considered lightweight and easily concealed.
At the end of the prosecution’s case, counsel Grant Connell is said to have made a no case submission, meaning he posited that they had not made out a case for his client to answer.
The crux of the matter appears to be that the section that Robertson was charged under did not exist in law. While he was charged under the Firearm’s Act section 14 (1) (4) (a), this was supposed to be 14 (4) (a). The prosecution attempted to amend this, but it was held the amendment could only be made before the end of the prosecution’s case.
It was therefore also held that there was not a case to answer, based on the section under which Robertson had been charged.
While the prosecution submitted that the magistrate could exercise her discretion to convict under possession of unlicensed firearm, this was not agreed with.
The prosecution has indicated their intention to appeal the matter. While Robertson has been acquitted for the charge of possession of a prohibited weapon, it is said not to be impossible for the prosecution to reinstate the charge that was initially withdrawn, that of possession of an unlicensed firearm.