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Al Miller guilty - Judge rejects pastor's unsworn statement

Published:Saturday | September 24, 2011 | 12:00 AM
The Rev Al Miller after being found guilty in the Half-Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

SENIOR RESIDENT Magistrate Lorna Williams yesterday cast doubts on portions of the Reverend Al Miller's account of the circumstances under which he lost his licensed firearm.

Those doubts, which Williams outlined before she found Miller guilty of negligence resulting in the loss of the firearm, caused her to reject the unsworn statement he submitted in his defence.

The popular pastor of the St Andrew-based Fellowship Tabernacle church is facing a $100,000 fine when he returns to the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court for sentencing on October 28.

Attorney-at-law Leslie Campbell, who represented Miller, said he would examine all his options before deciding his next move.

"If in reviewing the judge's decision we find that there are any flaws then, of course, there is the option that we could take it elsewhere," he told The Gleaner.

Miller had claimed, in his statement, that he left the gun in his car when he and his daughter stopped at the Mico Practising Centre in Shortwood, St Andrew, to pick plums on January 22.

He further claimed that at all times he was within 20 feet of the vehicle and had it in his sight at all times.

This was one of the main issues the senior resident magistrate highlighted as she rejected Miller's statement.

She, however, pointed out that Miller's statement "makes no mention of the motor vehicle being broken into".

"If he had the motor vehicle in sight at all times, he must have seen someone gaining access to his motor vehicle," she asserted.

"I find the degree of negligence in this case is greater than the degree that would suffice in a civil case. The negligence is of such a high degree that it is deserving of criminal sanction," she added.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com