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Massacre man gets three-year jail sentence for possession of police officers’ firearm, ammunition and cellphone

Shermon James a 23-year-old of Formage, Massacre, has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three years and six months following his guilty plea to possession of firearm and ammunition, as well as handling stolen goods, the property of an officer of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force (CDPF).

James appeared before the Roseau Magistrate Court where he elected a summary trial and pleaded guilty to five charges of possession of a 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol, two 9mm 15 and 12-round capacity magazines, 27 rounds of ammunition, and handling a stolen good namely, one black Samsung Galaxy cellular phone, all belonging to Kimran Lovel. According to the facts of the case, on September 13, 2023, at about 8:00 a.m., Constable Lovel secured his residence and went to Vielle Case. The following day, about 11:30 p.m., the complainant’s landlord, called him via telephone and informed him that his house was burglarized.

A report was made to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on September 18, and WPC Morgan who was on duty at the time was detailed to investigate. During the course of her investigation, upon inspection of the apartment which Lovel occupied, one door appeared to have been forced open and the inside of the house was ransacked. A search was then conducted in the area and a number of items were recovered and kept in police custody as exhibits.

On September 21, acting on information received, WPC Morgan accompanied by other members of the CID went on duty at the home of James at Formage, Massacre. On arrival, the officer introduced herself and informed him of the report of Burglary she was investigating. She cautioned James and told him that she believed he could assist her with her investigations. Shortly thereafter, James led the officers to the home of his neighbor, Jahhym Azoo, where one black Samsung Galaxy cellular phone was recovered. He then led them to a dilapidated building in Canal, Massacre, where one black 9mm Glock 19 pistol and two 9mm magazines containing 15, and 12 rounds of ammunition, respectively, were found on the floor in a corner.

The items were collected and kept in police custody. James was then informed that he was being arrested on suspicion of burglary to which he replied, “How I being arrested on suspicion of Burglary.”

He was subsequently transported to Police Headquarters and escorted to CID. There, in the presence of an independent witness, WPC Morgan recorded a Statement of Accused from James. Later that day, a written interview was conducted with him during which time he denied entering the dwelling home of Lovel, however, he admitted to receiving the above-mentioned items from his friend and knew that the items were stolen. On completion of the investigation, charges of Handling Stolen Goods, Possession of Firearms, and Possession of Ammunition were preferred against James.

Unrepresented at his court hearing, James pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.

“I made a huge and stupid mistake,” he told the Chief Magistrate Candia Carrette-George. “I am sorry. I am not part of the group of men who burglarized the officer’s home.”

The 23-year-old further pleaded for a non-custodial sentence, as according to him “jail will not be a good place for a young person like me.”

“This is the first time I am getting in trouble with the law, please, please, please, give me a second chance to be a better person.”

However, in handing down her sentence, the Chief Magistrate stated, that the Court must take into account the alarming rise in gun-related activities in Dominica. Consideration was given for his guilty plea and the fact that he is a first-time offender. On the charge of possession of a black 9mm Glock 19 pistol, James was imprisoned for one year. On count two, possession of a 9mm 15-round capacity magazine, a further one-year imprisonment. The Court added no separate penalty on the third charge of possession of a 9mm 12-round capacity magazine but sentenced James to a further one-year imprisonment on the charge of possession of 27 rounds of ammunition.

On the complaint of handling stolen goods, he was further sentenced to six months imprisonment. The order of the court was that the sentences should run consecutively. Consequently, James will be imprisoned for three years and six months.

Meanwhile, two Massacre men namely Denzel McPherson and Bradley Royer have been denied bail following a charge of burglary preferred against them by the police. The men are accused of burglarizing the home of Police Constable Kimran Lovel on September 17, 2023, and therein stole $24,125.00 worth of items to include, a firearm and ammunition, a television, jewelry, watches, food items, and a cellphone among other items.

At their appearance in court, McPherson and Royer were not required to enter a plea since the matter is an indictable offense, expected to be tried at the High Court before a judge and jury. When the issue of bail arose, Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Perdrina Dupigny was successful in her objection to bail which presiding Magistrate Michael Laudat later denied to the men. They were remanded into custody at the Dominica State Prison pending the start of their Preliminary Inquiry.