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The defendant, Courtney Phillips arrives at the Kingstown Magistrate's Court on Thursday March 21, 2024.
The defendant, Courtney Phillips arrives at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Thursday March 21, 2024.
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A 24-year-old Edinboro man was on Thursday fined EC$2,000 for two rounds of ammunition found at his home during a police raid as part of an operation after the shooting of a patient at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital Tuesday night.

The man, Courtney Phillips, was slapped with the fine at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court after a hearing in which the public gallery of the court was cleared twice as lawyer Israel Bruce mitigated. 

Phillips had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge that on March 20, at Edinboro, he had in his possession two rounds of 12 gauge ammunition without a licence issued under the Firearms Act.

Senior Magistrate Colin John did not ask the accused if he had a lawyer before putting the charge to him.

However, after the man had been granted bail, which included a curfew, and was waiting for his bail bond to be signed, counsel Israel Bruce arrived at the court and said he was involved in the matter.

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In her submission to the court on bail, the prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police Corlene Samuel, had said that the charge was “directly related to the incidents in Ottley Hall as related to prevalence of offences in that area. 

“Police have been doing some searches and as a result of that, they were able to come up with this charge,” the prosecutor had told the court as she had argued for a curfew as part of Phillips’ bail conditions.

However, when Bruce arrived, he asked that the matter be recalled and the charge be read to Phillips again and the defendant pleaded guilty. 

Samuel began to present the facts to the court, saying that on Wednesday, around 1:40 a.m. “directly following the shooting incident at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital”.

However, the senior magistrate said he would not include this as part of the facts “because it would be prejudicial”.

Samuel continued, saying that acting on information, Station Sergeant Morris took a party of officers to Phillips’ home to search for firearms and ammunition. 

Phillips was met at home and while searching in the defendant’s bedroom in his presence, the police officers found a round of 12 gauge ammunition in a jacket hanging in his closet.

PC Eustace cautioned the defendant in the presence of PC662 Williams and pointed out the offence of possession of unlicensed ammunition. 

Phillips replied, “Officer, ah find me find dem and decide to keep dem.”

Station Sergeant of Police Cain, a ballistic expert, checked the ammunition and found them to be live rounds.  

The police then cautioned Phillips in the presence of his lawyer and he gave a statement. 

In mitigation, Bruce noted the defendant’s age, adding that he quit Emmanuel High School Kingstown (JP Eustace Memorial Secondary) at Form 3. 

The lawyer, holding one round of the ammunition each in an outstretched hand, said his client had met “two objects on the ground looking like the shots, he decided to pick them up.

“Whether he had an appreciation of what they were or not, he picked them up and he just had them at home.”

The lawyer told the court that what the prosecutor did not tell the court was that the police had found one round of ammunition during their search and Phillips told them he had another one.

“I crave the court’s indulgence, there is an additional point in mitigation that I wish to make in mitigation but I do not know if I can approach the bench with the prosecutor,” Bruce then said.

The magistrate told him he could clear the court and so ordered. 

After the public was allowed back inside the courtroom, Bruce continued his mitigation

saying Phillips is a young man with no previous conviction and is to be considered a man of good character for that purpose. 

Bruce went on to address the sentencing guidelines during which the court was again cleared as he made a point in mitigation.

He later went on to suggest a non-custodial sentence, adding that he was retracting his suggestion of a possible reprimand and discharge. 

Bruce said that the court may decide to impose a fine “and make sure the message is clear to all those who are listening”. 

Meanwhile, in her submission on sentencing, Samuel noted that while the sentencing guidelines are set, the Firearms Act provides the options of fine, confinement, or both. 

“It is up to the court,” the prosecutor said, adding, “When you look at the prevalence of firearms in the area, we need to send a message.”

She said that if the court was minded to impose a fine, it should reflect the seriousness of the offence. 

In handing down his sentence, the senior magistrate noted that Phillips pleaded guilty, adding that the court also considered the mitigation of defence counsel.

John further noted that Phillips has no previous criminal conviction, adding that the court agrees with Bruce’s conclusion that sentencing should be based not on what the magistrate thinks, but on the guidelines set down by the chief justice.

“So, based on what is in the sentencing guideline, this particular offence, it seems that it should attract a non-custodial sentence.”

John ordered Phillips to pay the EC$2,000 fine in one month or spend six months in prison.

He also issued confiscation and destruction orders for the ammunition.

One reply on “Man fined for ammo found as police raided after hospital shooting ”

  1. There is an.old adage that says looks is deceiving. Phillips picture looks like someone with mental illness or being insane. Nothing wrong with being insane but treatment is necessary . Society will be better off than the alternative.

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