Prison time for gun possession

POSTED: 10/2/14 11:19 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced 24-year-old Angelo Gumbs yesterday to 20 months of imprisonment for illegal firearm possession. The sentence is 4 months below the demand by public prosecutor Karola van Nie.

Judge Rick Smid, in his first appearance after the departure of Judge Koos van de Ven, just shook his head in dismay at the appearance of Gumbs in his court room. “You have been here before,” he said. “Why do this?”

On July 6, Gumbs was in a car with a man known as Egghead in Simpson Bay. The car had been tagged as having been possibly involved in an armed robbery on the French side of the island. When a police patrol spotted the car and followed it, the driver stopped at a certain moment whereupon Gumbs jumped from the vehicle and ran. That was the signal for police officers to spring into action. Gumbs ran to the Simpson Bay Lagoon and went into the water, where he seemingly dropped something from his pants.

The police officers had spotted two guns in his waistband beforehand. Two hours later, a diver retrieved the weapons from the lagoon. Gumbs was forcefully arrested.

He told the court that the weapons belonged to the driver of the car. “I made a stupid decision,” he said. “Now I am away from my family and they need me.”

Prosecutor Van Nie considered the charges proven, noting that the defendant had done everything in his power to get rid of the weapons before the police was on to him. She demanded 24 months of imprisonment.

Attorney Jairo Bloem asked the court to declare the prosecution inadmissible and otherwise to exclude the evidence, because the police had been following up on a report about an armed robbery on the French side. “The police on the Dutch side have no authority to investigate crimes that were committed on the French side,” he said.

Bloem quoted extensively from jurisprudence to support his position but in the end it was to no avail: Judge Smid ruled that the police had not even given the car a stop sign and that the officers had only spring into action after the defendant had started running away from the car.


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