Hermus Patrick leaves the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Friday, after his sentencing. (iWN photo)

The 84-year-old man who admitted to having a .38 revolver and 115 rounds of ammunition in his possession at Layou on June 5 has been spared an immediate jail term.

Rather, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett, sentenced Hermus Patrick to 12 months in prison, suspended for 12 months.

This means that the man will avoid jail time if he does not break the law over the next year.

However, to avoid the inside of a prison cell, Patrick, a veteran of both the United States and British military, will have to come up with EC$12,000 by Dec. 31, 2019, or spend 12 months in prison.

One week earlier, on June 14, Burnett heard what he later described as “a stirring plea in mitigation” from Patrick’s lawyer Grant Connell.

Also on June 14, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche made it clear that the Crown was not looking for custodial sentence in the case, and suggested a fine, beginning with the notional EC$5,000 for the firearm and EC$500 per round of ammunition, minus the relevant discounts for the early guilty plea and mitigating factors.

In handing down his sentence on Friday, Burnett, reading from prepared, handwritten notes, summarised the submission of the prosecution and the defence, and outlined the law.

He noted that Patrick’s lawyer had pointed out that his client had applied multiple times for and was denied a firearm permit.

The magistrate also noted that the lawyer said that Patrick brought the firearm and ammunition to St. Vincent and the Grenadines four decades ago and kept it in “the bosom” of his house, never once brandishing it.

He further noted that the defence had raised the issues of Patrick’s age and health, noting that he often travels to the United States for medical attention.

Burnett further reiterated the purpose of sentencing, namely punishment, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation, and said that each case must be taken on its merit.

He said the aggravating features of the case were the prevalence of guns and ammunition in SVG, and the age and experience of the defendant.

He said Patrick is a former soldier and should have known better than to keep an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He, however, said Patrick age’s is also a mitigating factor, in addition to his early guilty plea and the remorse he had shown.

Burnett said the fact that Patrick had applied for a license to keep a firearm and ammunition showed a willingness to be a law-abiding citizen.
The senior magistrate said the mitigating factors in the case far outweigh the aggravating elements and noted the sentencing principles of consistency, proportionality, equity, and fairness.

He said he had also noted the precedent set by the Serious Offences Court, which hears the bulk of firearm matters.

Patrick was charged along with his son, Robert Patrick for possession of 45 rounds of the ammunition.

Robert pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecution withdrew the after his father accepted the facts presented by the prosecution.
The man and his son were jointly charged for ammunition which he had told police he had at his son’s house.

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne had recused herself from the case saying that the she knows one of the Patricks well. 

10 replies on “Man, 84, gets suspended jail term for gun; fined $12,000 for ammo”

  1. Gersham Alexander says:

    Veterans are always to carry a firearm just as they would allow an ex-police to do if he so desires. Why does the authority keeps denying him the license for a firearm. Also how could the police charge two persons for one firearm?? Are these policemen who are involved in the case living up “Monkey Hill”.Former commissioner of police Randolph Tousaint once told a gathering of the constabulary that common sense is no longer common among some of his officers. That is/was a serious indictment. But this foolish behaviour by some has not change. Mind you, there are some very smart and intelligent police in S.V.G.police force. But the foolish ones need to seek more knowledge or be ‘weeded’ out.
    A few days ago we read in the papers where a lady in the Windward area was held in a ‘choke hold’ by a police and her hand was also swollen from the elbow to the wrist as a result. And she was fined $400.00 for the damage to her hand.

    1. Gresham, there is no denying that there is vast corruption in the SVG Police Force, corruption on all levels! I hope that one day that can change because it scares the daylights out of me. The things that I have seen and experienced are shocking enough, but when it comes to valuable property or someone’s life, then what do you do? If you open your mouth or show that you have knowledge of something you will most certainly become a casualty yourself. I have had officers confide in me what goes on and it is very shocking. If they are ever found out that they opened thier mouth…bad things can happen to them!

      No wonder the general public has NO respect for our police!

  2. The citizens should be oven a license. I am happy the learned judge made the right decision. The citizens main objective in have a gun is to preserve life.

  3. David Wilson says:

    A vétéran are always to carry a fire arm so also he is to obey the laws not brake them you sound a bit ignorant in your childish remark if he from monkey hill are you serious! This man broke the law why don’t you get the facts as to why he is not issue a gun licence maybe that would help your country is facing a high raise in gun violence crime and shooting death over the years the police is doing what has to be done with what little ressources they have you are talking as if the police has no right to arrest this this man for having a gun and bullets illegally veteran or not the laws was broken to the police men and women of st Vincent and the grenadine good work make st Vincent and the grenadine safe again !! A unlicencen gun is an illegal gun. is the law of precedent can be fully trusted i think not.

    1. David Wilson I think you are very mixed-up. Reading between the lines here the real question is: Why are dangerous people allowed to have a gun and those that are not dangerous, such as this man, are not allowed to have a gun? The most dangerous criminals usually find a way to get a gun and use it to commit crimes. That begs another question: Is this vulnerable man (according to our laws) NOT allowed to defend himself? People like you want SVG to become worse than Britain the most violent country in Europe where the normal citizen is not allowed a gun but the criminals all have them. What about Switzerland where EVERY HOUSEHOLD HAS AT LEAST ONE GUN AND THEY HAVE THE LOWEST CRIME RATE IN EUROPE! Ponder that one please!!!
      You are very mixed-up!

  4. I am totally against guns in SVG, even when I see police carrying them in holsters on their bodies. There is no need to carry guns openly in SVG. It’s creating an Ok Corral atmosphere in the island.
    However when an application is requested for protection; I am in favour because of what happened some years ago when one criminal walked into several homes and murdered several persons. In Layou there are several unsolved murders, so some folks need protection, because there are rumours that the police only turn-up very quickly if/when marijuana is involved.
    The judge was correct with his assessment because Pato applied several times for a firearm license and was refused. I’d like to know the reason given for the refusal. I wonder if his cousin had anything to do with the refusal. I am also wondering how anyone knew he had a gun in his home.
    Maybe folks can start stocking up on bows and arrows. I don’t think those are on record as being criminal equipment. These criminals enter homes with guns, so one has to be prepared to shoot first and ask questions later.
    These are the judgments one looks for from the judges if the people are given the opportunity to choose judges for the CCJ.

    1. skeckpalmer I am glad that at least you are informed and know the situation here. I do not like guns either. The problem is the criminals do love guns and there are lots of illegal guns in SVG. The best way for many to defend themselves against them is to have one ourselves. The thought repulses me! Most all the politicians have guns or are guarded by those that have them. What does this tell us?

  5. Lots of gun slingers around and they comouflage themselves by driving heavily tinted cars. The government should make it illegal to drive these kinds of cars. I know a gunslinger in an area who drives such a car and it runs fears in the villages mind.

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