Not only did she see gun and ammunition convict Aneil Hazelwood as no sacrificial lamb, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne also disagreed with his lawyer, Grant Connell, that there were no aggravating features of his crime.
And, on Thursday, Browne sent Hazelwood, a 23-year-old IT technician, of Green Hill, to prison for four years and one month for having in his possession on April 5, in Kingstown, one Smith and Wesson .38 special revolver, without a licence.
She further jailed him for 10 months for unlawful possession of 10 rounds of .38 ammunition.
The sentences will run concurrently.
Cato, in his submission on sentencing, had noted to the court that while Connell, in his mitigation, had presented Hazelwood as a man of impeccable character, he was found with a firearm while in the company of men of questionable character.
The chief magistrate said that there were quite a few aggravating features of Hazelwood’s crime.
The man was nabbed in Kingstown in a vehicle with five other men after detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department, led by Sergeant 643 Quow and including Detective PC339 Laborde, went in search of motor vehicle PJ724, which was suspected to be carrying guns and ammunition.
The officers stopped the vehicle on Halifax Street and when the driver put down his window, the officers saw five people inside.
Hazelwood got out of the driver’s seat and a black plastic bag was seen on the seat, in which the officer found the pistol, which was loaded with five round of ammunition.
When the vehicle was further searched at police headquarters, the officers found a further five rounds of ammunition in it.
Hazelwood told the detectives that the gun and ammunition were his.
At his arraignment on April 6, he pleaded guilty to both charges, changed his pleas to not-guilty on the day when he was supposed to be sentenced.
When he was convicted earlier this month after a full trial, Haywood lost an automatic one-third discount on his sentence.
In handing down her sentence, Browne noted the extreme prevalence of gun crimes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, noting that this was evidenced in the court this week.
She said that an aggravating feature of the offence was the time of day when the gun was found: 3:50 p.m. Extremely aggravating was the fact that it was found fully loaded in the centre of a busy Kingstown — the nation’s capital.
The chief magistrate said that the weapon was ready for use and Hazelwood had made attempts to blame others for the firearm.
She said that this was his position although he had admitted in his own words in a statement that he had the gun with the intention of taking matters into his own hands.