Attorney-at-law Sian Lange today urged a High Court judge to impose a sentence of time served on her client who apologised for having in his possession, a loaded gun he had “found”.
The defence attorney made the submission today in her remarks on behalf of convicted man David Wayne Harper, a Bibby’s Lane, St Michael resident.
Last week he pleaded guilty, via Zoom from his location at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, to having the illegal firearm and seven rounds of ammunition in his possession on May 26, 2017.
On that day police doing traffic checks along Jack-in-the-box Gully stopped the vehicle in which he was travelling. His actions during that time caused lawmen to become suspicious and a search was conducted with his consent. A silver and black 9mm semi automatic pistol along with several paint brushes were found in his haversack.
“The gun is mine I find it,” he said when asked to account for it. A further check discovered that the gun was equipped with a magazine containing seven rounds of ammunition.
He told police on his arrest that he was walking through a track near Ellerton Pasture in St George when he found the loaded weapon and decided to keep it.
Addressing Justice Randall Worrell via Zoom again today the first time offender said: “ I apologise for the offence.”
His lawyer then acknowledged that he had committed a serious offence and under the circumstances a custodial sentence was merited as the gun was loaded and was capable of taking a life.
But, in her client’s case, she said, the gun was not used although the No. 2 Supreme Court could find it “passing strange” that he had simply found the firearm while passing through a track.
While Harper had made a “bad choice”, she said, there was “no sophistication” on his part to having the weapon as he had found it, took it home, stashed it, then removed it when it began to rain, and put it in his bag. She pointed to his clean record and the fact that he had never been involved in any criminal activity before that charge.
All of those factors she said should go in Harper’s favour and the court should consider a starting sentence of six years in prison. A third discount she said should then be credited for his guilty plea bringing the sentence down to four years.
According to her, Harper’s previously good record should get him a further discount and the fact that the mitigating factors of his case “overwhelmed” the aggravating factors, another year should be shaved off the sentence.
“That should bring it very close to the time that he has spent on remand, being time served,” Lange added.
The convicted man, who is in his late 40s, has been at Dodds for 1,094 days.
Crown Counsel Oliver Thomas will respond to the sentencing submissions on June 9.