The folly of stashing a high-calibre pistol and ammunition for a “friend” will cost a Christ Church man $35 000.
Quincy Charles Atherley from Cane Vale has 12 months to pay the High Court $25 000 for possession of a M10 Ingram 9mm pistol without a valid licence on August 22, 2013.
If he fails to pay the amount in the stipulated time he will spend three years and 349 days in prison.
A further $10 000 payable in six months or the same amount of time in prison was imposed for possession of 13 rounds of ammunition.
Madam Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell imposed the sentence on Atherley in the No.4 Supreme Court . He was represented by attorneys Arthur Holder, Maria Arthur, Einsley Granger and Rhea Layne.
Atherley had pleaded guilty to the two offences in February. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Alliston Seale told the court that on August 22 seven and a half years ago as a result of information received, police executed a search warrant at Atherley’s residence.
On arrival they saw him and another man, told him about their information and the reason for being there. He told the officers “come” and escorted them to a bedroom at the front of his house and pointed to a space under the closet.
From there police retrieved a black t-shirt containing a firearm with a magazine with 13 rounds of ammunition.
According to the facts read by Seale, the first-time offender told police another man who he said was his friend had given him the weapon to hold.
He disclosed that his friend met him at Belfield by the Nightingale’s Children’s Home, spoke to him about an incident with another man and gave him an object wrapped in a shirt.
When he arrived home he unwrapped the item, saw what was inside and secured it. Facing the court previously Atherley declared he had made a “ foolish mistake”.
However, in handing down the sentence the High Court judge said although this was a serious offence, a custodial sentence was not merited in Atheley’s case.
She said aggravating the matter was that the convicted man was in possession of a 9 mm pistol “capable of firing multiple rounds of ammunition without reloading”; and the firearm was used in some form of illegal activity as was told to him by his friend when it was given to him.
The judge said the only mitigating factor was the fact that Atherley did not use the weapon himself.
Aggravating as an offender, Smith-Bovell said, was Atherley’s “complicity” in hiding the gun and bullets which he knew had been used in some unlawful act.
Smith-Bovell however said the convict had several mitigating factors in his favour including the fact that the gun was not his, he had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty, expressed genuine remorse and had cooperated with the police.
The judicial officer also took into account the delay between the time of the charges and the hearing of the matter.
In reaching at the fine she credited Atherley for his early guilty plea, the 25 days spent on remand, the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case as well as “the need to convey to the public, the seriousness of the offence and the need for the sentence to act as a deterrent for other members of the public”.
However she said in the event the fine was not paid a starting sentence of seven years in prison would be imposed.
A deduction of one year for mitigating factors will be given and a one-third discount for his guilty plea as well as consideration for the time he had spent on remand at Dodds.This left Atherley with a sentence of three years, 349 days.
That’s the alternative that would be imposed if the fines are not honoured within the stipulated time.