No proof for intention to commit a crime: Light sentence for man caught with BB gun

POSTED: 05/31/12 12:12 PM

GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced Antonio Sundiata Joseph, 24, to 187 days imprisonment yesterday for simple weapons possession, but acquitted him of planning to commit a crime, firearms possession and making threats against a policeman. Some 150 days of the sentence are conditional. The defendant has already spent the remaining 37 days in pretrial custody. The prosecution demanded a 3-year prison sentence at the trial on March 7.

On December 16, the defendant was caught with an air gun, a balaclava and several pairs of gloves in his car that are, according to the prosecution, “apparently destined to commit an armed robbery or extortion.”

Judge mr. Monique Keppels rules that the lone fact of having a BB gun, a mask, and gloves in one’s possession is insufficient to conclude that the defendant had these goods to prepare for an armed robbery or an act of extortion.

“The fact that relatively many armed robberies and extortions are taking place in St. Maarten does not change this.”

The judge also dismissed the charge of firearm possession, because a BB gun technically does not fall under the 1930 Firearm Ordinance, though it does fall under the 1931 Arm Ordinance.

In the car where the police found the mask and the BB gun there were also two firearms – a Glock and a Brasilian Saturday night special. But the court concluded that the defendant did not have these weapons at his disposal. He was the driver of the car and his passenger admitted to the police the guns were his.

Joseph also allegedly told a police officer, “You are a faggot. When I get out, I am going to shoot you. I will kill you, you piece of shit. It is a small island.”

But the court found no proof that the defendant had made these threats and acquitted him of the charge.

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