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Ettian Charles

Ettian Charles in a 2018 iWN photo.

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The former police officer who was found guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm and six rounds of ammunition will spend the next three years in prison.

On Monday, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett sentenced Ettian Charles, 36, to three years in prison for the firearm offence and six months for the ammunition.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Burnett found Charles guilty of charges that on Sept. 17, 2018, at Arnos Vale, he had in his possession one black and silver Smith and Wesson .38 revolver serial number unknown, and six rounds of .38 ammunition, without a license issued under the Firearm Act.

Last Wednesday, his lawyer, Israel Bruce, asked the court to impose a suspended sentence.

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He said that Charles is the father of five children, aged 8 months old to 12 years, for whom he is the main breadwinner.

The lawyer also said that his client’s father is blind and suffers from bleeding in the brain and his mother is diabetic and Charles helps to take care of both of them.

“His family, mother, father and children, circumstances all beg for this court to do what … [deceased lawyer] Author Williams would say. ‘This is one case where I ask the court to temper justice with mercy’,” Bruce said.

“These children, I beg, should be given an opportunity to not have to line up every three weeks to collect social assistance from the government and taxpayers of St. Vincent…

“Otherwise, let him be a burden on the state and let his children and his parents, also be a burden on the state.”

However, prosecutor Sergeant Cornelius Title told the court that prison sentences are almost automatic for firearm and ammunition offences and he saw no reason to depart from this.

Charles also has a conviction for conspiracy to commit burglary in connection with a burglary of the Postal Corporation in Kingstown, which netted EC$74,121.46 in cash, along with EC$5,486.96 in cheques, one uninterrupted power supply valued EC$9,000 and one external battery pack, valued EC$3,000.

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