Richard Delisle Arthur is on trial in the Supreme Court in what Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale has described “a special case”.
Arthur – the brother of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur – today pleaded not guilty to having 102 rounds of ammunition in his possession on January 31, 2012 without a valid licence to do so.
“This is a special case. This accused is the licensed holder of firearms. It is not the simple run-of-the-mill case,” the Principal Crown Counsel told the five-man, four-woman member jury in the No. 2 Supreme Court as he opened the case against Arthur, said to be in his 50s, and from Maynards, St Peter.
“Police are alleging that they had occasion to visit the residence of the accused and execute a search warrant…. They found certain things… and as a result of investigations carried out, charged the accused with possession of 102 rounds of ammunition,” Seale told the jury presided by Justice Randall Worrell.
Moments later, Seale called four of seven police witnesses to the stand. Among them was firearms expert Sergeant David Leslie who revealed that the 102 rounds of ammunition handed to him on February 14, 2012 for testing were assorted. The cartridges comprised of .308 Winchester calibre; 7.62 calibre; 5.56mm calibre; .32 auto calibre; .22 magnum calibre; and .22 long riffle calibre ammunition, he said.
Sergeant Leslie added: “All the [ammunition] . . . are apparently live . . . all are ammunition as defined under the Firearms Act of Barbados.”
Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim, who is Arthur’s lead attorney, along with Kyle Walkes questioned Sergeant Leslie on whether he knew his client as a marksman.
The firearms expert declared: “Yes, I am familiar with Richard Arthur, I know him in association with shooting.”
Also giving evidence today was Station Sergeant Lawrence Collymore who was attached to the Firearms Licensing Department at Station Hill in 2012. He told the jury that he was the keeper of records for issued firearms at the time.
He revealed that he made a check of those records after having a conversation with Officer Dwayne Marshall on February 13, 2012.
Sergeant Collymore said: “I . . . found that Richard Arthur was the holder of three armed licences. A 9 mm STI pistol; a .40 STI pistol and .38 pistol – this licence allowed him to carry 50 rounds of [that] ammunition. Both STIs were issued for sport shooting.”
Collymore went on to explain that once a firearm licence was granted for personal protection, the Commissioner of Police assigns a specific quantity of ammunition to go with that licence. According to him, if the firearm is issued for sport shooting no ammunition is assigned to those licences.
Through questioning by the Principal Crown Counsel the officer went on to reveal that there were four member shooting clubs in Barbados with one of them now defunct.
Ammunition used at the clubs he said is purchased and dispensed of at that location and unused ammunition must be returned to the executive member or appointee of the club. That member, he explained, is “supposed” to store the used ammunition at the requisite storage facility.
He added: “Based on my investigations in 2012 he [Arthur] was not an executive member of any club in Barbados. He was an executive member prior to that [but] sometime between 2009 and 2010 his status as an executive member had ended.”
But he said that an executive member “certainly” could not keep their ammunition at home.
Pilgrim cross-examined Collymore and put forward three of the “purported” licences granted to his client. He questioned whether those licences were documents proffered by the Royal Barbados Police Force, to which Collymore answered “yes”.
The officer was also asked whether the three documents showed that Arthur had the right to have 50 cartridges for each licensed firearm.
Collymore answered: “This is what the licences are saying sir”.
But Pilgrim went on: “But none of them says you can hold 50 cartridges of .22, .308, .306 . . . none of them said anything like that?”
The officer responded: “No sir”.
After several more questions by the defence attorney, the case was adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow when more of the Crown’s witnesses are to give evidence.