Man sentenced again for illegal firearm possession

POSTED: 02/23/12 2:24 PM

GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced 26-year-old Christopher Edmond to 16 months imprisonment for possession of a firearm. Of the sentence 4 months are suspended; the court imposed 3 years of probation.

The defendant was found in possession of the gun on December 5 of last year. Police officers searched his car near the Vlaun garage after they noticed a strong smell of marijuana. They found the gun, a .38 special, under the passenger seat. Edmond admitted that the gun was his and that he bought it in St. Maarten. In 2009 the defendant was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment, also for firearm possession.

Edmond told the court that he had the gun for self protection, after he was robbed of a chain on the boardwalk. He is also under threat of the boyfriend of a woman with whom he maintains a relationship.

As the father of two small children, Edmond assured prosecutor Den Hartigh that he never carried the gun in his house, but that he left it in his car at a place where his children were not able to get to it.

Prosecutor den Hartigh said that he was willing to accept the truthfulness of the circumstances the defendant had mentioned. “But they do not justify buying a firearm, especially after your earlier conviction. If everybody starts taking measures on his own this place becomes a banana republic. And St. Maarten is still a constitutional democracy. The Prosecutor’s office also does not support giving out firearm licenses for self protection purposes.”

The prosecutor increased the standard 12-month demand for the charge by one third because of Edmond’s earlier conviction.

The defendant’s attorney mr. Remco Stomp asked for leniency, after first asking for an acquittal because he considered the arrest of his client unlawful. “Therefore the evidence has to be excluded.”

mr. Stomp said that his client is not a notorious criminal. “He had a steady job; he leads a structured life.” He also asked for a sentence reduction because Edmond spent 11 weeks too long in a police cell.

Judge mr. Monique Keppels considered the charge proven and the arrest lawful. “I base this on the police report and I have no reason to doubt its content. This defense argument has to be made at the Judge of Instruction.”

The judge also did not consider the defendant’s lengthy stay in a police cell, because the justice minister has designated part of the new police cells as House of Detention. While the circumstances are no justification for firearm possession, the judge said, she took it somewhat into account by suspending the extra 4 months of the sentence.

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Comments (1)

 

  1. anjilie says:

    “The Prosecutor’s office also does not support giving out firearm licenses for self protection purposes.”

    What does the prosecutor’s office think that a firearm license is for then? If not to protect oneself, one’s family, and one’s property? That is the sole purpose, to not believe that is to not believe that we have the right to firearm licenses. Which means the prosecutor’s office would like to undermine the laws written by the Minister of Justice, who is an elected representative of the will of the people, unlike the prosecutor.