A man who delivered an unloaded firearm had to immediately pay the court a $10 000 fine.
Justice Randall Worrell handed down the sentence to 28-year-old Edgehill Terrace, St Thomas resident Ckeimo Leroy Daren Best who had previously admitted that on February 17, 2019, he supplied a .45 ACP calibre semi-automatic pistol firearm to Jonell Williams without having a valid licence.
According to the facts of the case, members of the Anti-Gun and Gangs Unit of the Barbados Police Service received information that a firearm was going to be handed over in Green Hill, St Michael on that date. The officers went to a pet store in the area and saw a white motor car with two people inside. As police approached the vehicle, the person in the front passenger seat jumped out and ran off with a firearm in his hand while the other person drove off.
Police pursued both men. Best, who was driving the vehicle, stopped it in a cul-de-sac in Johnson Land. He told the police he had received the firearm from a man in New Orleans and had been instructed to deliver it.
Best’s attorney, Kelly-Anne Blackman, submitted that a starting point of four years for the offence would be appropriate. She highlighted that mitigating factors such as her client’s early guilty plea, his young age at the time, his lack of a criminal record and his remorse outweighed the aggravating factors and one year should be deducted for that.
Asking the court to consider a one-third discount and the six months he spent on remand, Blackman submitted the imposition of a non-custodial sentence and asked for a fine of $12 000.
Also in agreement with the non-custodial sentence, Acting Principal State Counsel Oliver Thomas said that a fine of $20 000 would meet justice in the case.
Stating that having a firearm was a serious matter, Justice Worrell said that this was so even in the case of taking a firearm from one person to another. He concurred with the four-year starting point.
Weighing the aggravating circumstances against the mitigating factors, he made several downward adjustments in consideration of Best’s early plea and the time spent on remand, which left a period of 550 days behind bars.
Acknowledging that a fine would be a better sentencing option in this case, the judge ordered Best to pay a $10 000 fine forthwith or be imprisoned for 550 days. The fine was paid.