Appeal Court reinstates gun charge

File photo
File photo

A man who originally got off a “gun charge” in June 2020 can expect the police to come knocking on his door after the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for him.

The State had appealed the dismissal of a charge of possession of a firearm by a magistrate on June 8, 2020.

Isaiah Collins was before the court. However, the magistrate who presided over his case, in discharging him, held that he should not have been charged with possession of a firearm, but possession of firearm components.

It was alleged the police held Collins with a rifle drum and a gun butt extension.

The magistrate also held that the information laid by police to support the charge was not reflected in the exhibits presented to the court, and any amendment would not be appropriate, given the nature of the charges.

The magistrate also ruled that to amend the charges would only serve to plug the prosecution’s case and would be prejudicial to Collins.

The State appealed, arguing that the Firearms Act provided for offences involving lethal hand weapons or their components.

In their ruling, Justices Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson agreed with the State’s contention that the magistrate fell into error by viewing the possession of firearm components as a different charge.

They also held that given that the matter was not so advanced at the time, there would have been no prejudice to Collins to permit the police to amend the charges.

“We have no hesitation in accepting the State’s argument as components fall within the definition in the Act and the charge was correctly formulated.”

The judges allowed the State’a appeal and sent Collins’s case back to be heard by another magistrate.

Assistant DPP Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal, who represented the State at Tuesday’s hearing of magisterial appeals, said now that a new trial has been ordered, Collins will be served with fresh notice to appear in court on the gun-possession charge.

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