Handing down a four-year custodial sentence to a Tarish Pit male charged with possession of firearm and ammunition, Magistrate Michael Laudat said he wants to send a strong message that “illegal guns are not accepted in Dominica.”
A known offender to the court, Marvin Boyd of Tarish Pit and Shadel White of Roseau appeared before Magistrate Laudat yesterday –February 8– jointly charged with possession of firearm, namely a 12 gauge Beretta shotgun and possession of three rounds of 12 gauge ammunition, without being the valid license holder for a firearm or ammunition.
Boyd pleaded guilty whilst White pleaded not guilty. Hence, the prosecution accepted the guilty plea and withdrew the charge against White. He was subsequently discharged.
In presenting the facts to the court, Police Prosecutor, Inspector Davidson Cadette, stated that on Wednesday, February 4, 2021, members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were in pursuit of Boyd who was wanted for investigation concerning another matter.
He said while driving a police vehicle along River Street, Roseau, Corporal Williams saw the defendant sitting in the cab of a Mitsubishi pickup which was parked on Old Street, Roseau.
He was approached by Corporal Williams and other members of the CID and informed of the matter which they were investigating. Whilst speaking to the defendant, the officers saw what appeared to be a firearm behind the seat of the vehicle, Boyd was questioned about it and he replied: “I don’t know.”
A search was conducted and a 12 gauge shotgun was retrieved from behind the seat. He was arrested and taken to the Police Headquarters.
The following day, Corporal Williams conducted a written interview with Boyd in which he admitted that the firearm belonged to him and that he had found it in an old house at Goodwill after the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
As a result, the charge of possession of firearm and ammunition was preferred against Boyd.
Mitigating on behalf of the defendant, Attorney-at-Law Wayne Norde, described him as “strong and ambitious,” because “he was not blessed with a proper upbringing so this has haunted his youth.”
According to Norde, with no parental guidance from a young age, Boyd has been made to provide for himself even before his teenage years.
“Because of his past and the company he has kept, this has led him down the wrong road,” the attorney stated and pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as he, Norde, believes there is a chance for Boyd.
He said Boyd had passive possession of the gun as it was not used in any criminal offense.
With the maximum penalty for both offenses being $15,000 or 5 years imprisonment, Norde urged the court to be lenient on his client and impose a “reasonable fine.”
However, Magistrate Laudat reprimanded Boyd stating, “the court cannot turn a blind eye on the present pandemic of misuse of firearms in the community.”
“We are losing too many innocent lives because of these firearms so the court needs to send a strong message that illegal firearms are not wanted nor accepted in Dominica,” he added.
In handing down his sentence, Magistrate Laudat stated he will deviate from sentencing guidelines and sentenced Boyd to two years in prison for possession of firearm and two years in prison for possession of ammunition to run concurrently.
The firearm and ammunition were forfeited to the state.