Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Powell guilty ... Convicted of breaching Firearms Act

Published:Wednesday | July 12, 2017 | 7:00 AMLivern Barrett
Businessman Patrick Powell making his way to the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday.

A judge yesterday declared that businessman Patrick Powell had enough time to comply with a request from police investigators to hand over his licensed firearm and ammunition for inspection.

Parish Judge Vaughn Smith was outlining the reasons in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court for his decision to find Powell guilty of breaching the Firearms Act by failing, on three separate occasions, to produce his Glock pistol when asked to do so by the police.

Powell is scheduled to be sentenced on August 9, and Smith indicated to his attorney, Deborah Martin, that if the weapon is handed over by then, he would take it into consideration when deciding his fate.

The businessman was charged amid a police investiga-tion into the shooting death of 17-year-old Kingston College student, Khajeel Mais, in Havendale, St Andrew, in July 2011. At the time, investigators said he was a suspect in the killing and wanted his Glock pistol to conduct ballistic tests.

Smith, in handing down his verdict, cited the evidence of Superintendent Clive Walker that Powell was charged with failing to hand over his firearm on July 20, 2011, nine days after he first requested him to do so.

"He had been given ample time to produce the firearm. The non-production after nine days can only be regarded as a failure to produce the weapon," Smith said.

During the trial, Powell's attorney argued that when he ignored the request by Walker, he was invoking his constitutional right to remain silent.

But Smith sided with prosecutors Yanique Gardener Brown and Natalie Malcolm, who asserted that the right to remain silent starts after a person is formally arrested and charged with a criminal offence.

"There is no evidence before this court that he had been charged with an offence when the request was made. Therefore, Mr Powell could not assert the constitutional right to remain silent as good cause to refuse to turn over the weapon," he said.

Martin stopped short of saying her client would appeal the verdict. "He has given his reasons and there is somewhere else to challenge that if we choose to," the attorney said.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com