Court acquits man of firearm possession

POSTED: 10/23/11 11:53 AM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice acquitted Bryan Giovanni H., 27, of firearm possession this week. The Court in First Instance had sentenced the defendant to 1 year imprisonment.

On April 19,  H. was spotted in the company of  Tavis Damien Williams, a 31-year-old from St. Kitts who has in the meantime been deported. On Wednesday, Williams was sentenced in absentia to one year imprisonment for the same charge.

Remarkably, the prosecution said in the Williams-case that DNA trace evidence of both defendants had been found on the weapon. But the appeals court ruling states explicitly that H.’s DNA was not found on the weapon.

An alert citizen called the police on April 19 after seeing that one of the two men was carrying a gun. He also described the car they were driving. When the police later found the car near the Fe Fe Bar, the defendants claimed they did not have a key. The car was impounded and examined. Officers found the gun under the passenger seat.

H. claimed during his appeal hearing, as he had done in the Court in First Instance, that he did not know Williams was carrying a gun.

“Firearm possession requires that a defendant has the weapon to a certain degree at his disposal,” the appeal court wrote in its ruling. Because H. said he was unaware there was a weapon in the car, and also because his DNA was not found on the weapon, the court acquitted him.

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