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Lowmans couple jailed for eight years

Lowmans couple jailed for eight years

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A Lowmans couple, who was on Wednesday found guilty of having a cache of weapons in their possession, together received sentences totalling almost half a century in prison — but will end up spending just eight years behind bars.

Randy Shallow and Friekesha Douglas were jointly charged that on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, during a raid at their home in Lowmans Leeward, police found a submachine gun (SMG), a Glock 40 pistol, a .38 revolver, an AK47 magazine with one bullet inside, as well as 14 rounds of Glock 40 and 45 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

Each was sentenced to eight years in prison for the SMG, five years for the Glock and another five for the revolver. They also received three years each for the AK47 magazine; five months for the round it contained; 15 months for the 14 rounds; two years for the 40 rounds; and three months for the .38 ammunition.

Since the impositions will run concurrently, the length of their stay will be determined by the longest sentence.

On their last court appearance, senior prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche told the court that the prosecution had brought the charges against the couple and had proven them beyond all reasonable doubt.

The prosecutor explained that on the date in question, the police, armed with a search warrant, entered the couple’s home and investigating officer PC 209 Philbert Chambers found the weapons in the presence of the defendants, and WPC Miller and Corporal King.

He noted that possession has a physical and mental element and is defined as having knowledge, control or custody.

He told the court that although the defendants did not have the guns on them, they were subject to control and knowledge, because they lived together in the house for four years.

The defence, he added, was relying on an alleged beating that the defendants said they received, but neither Shallow nor Douglas, who claimed she suffered a miscarriage, provided a medical report.

However, defence lawyer Grant Connell, who represents the couple, said that prosecution had not proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt.

He said the case was not about how much abuse the police inflicted on civilians, but about the break in the chain of custody of the exhibits.

Connell reminded the court that Chambers, in his evidence, said that he had moved all the exhibits from a ledge, but the defence lawyer pointed out that it was impossible for them to fit on the two-inch ledge.

The attorney also said that all three officers gave different versions of where the guns had come from and had the opportunity to record their findings, but failed to do so at the scene.

The court heard that Daniel Johnson, the landlord, has a storeroom outside the defendants’ bedroom, to which he and his son have access. Connell suggested that the couple did not control the area of the ledge.

That, he added, introduced other probabilities, also telling the court that two guns were checked into the exhibit room at the police station on January 20, and records show that they had not been logged out since.

The defence lawyer then pointed out a number of irregularities related to the firearms and described the case as an insult to common sense.

He charged that the prosecution’s case was riddled with doubt and the chain of custody of the exhibits had a few missing links.

According to the defence, the prosecutor was attempting to patch together unacceptable work by the police, describing the standard of performance by investigators as unacceptable.

However, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias held that the defence failed to prove that the couple was not in possession of the weapons.

Browne-Matthias, who also visited the scene of the crime, said that the main issue was possession and came to the conclusion that the Crown had proven their case.

In turn, Delpesche asked for a sentence that would reflect the severity of the crime.

Under the Firearms Act, possession of an unlicensed firearm could carry up to a seven-year prison term, while a prohibited weapon could earn a convicted person a 10-year penalty.

However, while Connell said he would be appealing the sentences, Delpesche remained confident that the ruling would stand in the Court of Appeal. (AS)

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