A former Central Bank of Barbados security chief pleaded guilty before a High Court judge today to having two guns and 16 bullets at his home when police executed a search warrant there.
Charles Wendell Pile, of The Mount, St George, admitted having the items on September 27, 2013. When lawmen came to his residence, he directed them to a safe where they found the ammunition for which he did not have a valid permit.
Pile had 66 bullets but, as Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts explained, the law allows a person to have a maximum of 50 bullets at any one time. Pile therefore had exceeded the lawful amount by 16.
The security officer also directed police to where he kept two revolvers which were not “currently licensed”, one belonging to himself and one to his deceased aunt. He also admitted to not having renewed his firearm licence since 2009.
The prosecutor referred to the wisdom in the Court of Appeal’s 2014 decision to remove the mandatory seven-year minimum sentence for persons pleading or being found guilty of having unlicensed guns or ammunition.
Speaking before Justice Olson Alleyne today, Watts proffered: “Just imagine a seven-year mandatory sentence for a person who neglects to renew his firearm licence.”
While Pile’s attorney Arthur Holder asked the court for an adjournment so he could prepare his mitigation, he also requested that Pile be allowed to continue on bail with all conditions remaining. Those conditions were $50 000 bail with one surety, reporting to a police station twice weekly and the surrender of his travel documents.
The prosecutor had no objections to bail, based on the fact that the circumstances were “not akin” to so many others where they were persons “who really have no legitimate reason to have (guns and ammunition) in their possession”.
A presentencing report was ordered for the first time offender who returns to court on July 17.