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Gun case contradiction

Magistrate’s Court, John’s Hole

A contradiction as well as indirect criticism of forensic works yesterday highlighted proceedings when two natives of the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI) appeared in court for trial in relation to a gun case.

Those charged are boat captain Jarvis Hodge and his passenger Derryck Callwood.

The duo is accused of failing to declare a gun while they traveled into the British Virgin Islands (BVI) last November.

Defence attorney Stephen Daniels yesterday expressed disappointment in relation to the testimony of a forensic officer, who is employed to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

The officer, Michelle Etienne, who is responsible for duties such as taking photographs of crime scenes, told the court that authorities discovered the gun, and a round of ammunition was in the breech.

However, during cross-examination, the cop said he did not take photos showing that the gun was loaded.

He also explained that, when he arrived at the scene, he took the gun and ‘made it safe’.

The officer said he also removed the loaded magazine from the weapon.

The defence attorney, Daniels, suggested to the cop that the weapon was not loaded in the first place. The officer disagreed.

Daniels expressed disenchantment.

Contradiction regarding captain

The court also heard from Sassoon Fahie, the Customs officer who cleared the vessel at the time the gun and bullets were allegedly found.

She testified that the boat captain, Hodge, verbally admitted to her from the get-go that he had a gun on the vessel – Inter Island Ferry Service.

The Customs officer’s testimony contradicts the prosecution’s claim that, on November 5 last year, Customs officers at the West End Ferry Terminal asked the boat captain (Hodge) if he had anything to declare, and Hodge said no.

Hodge, who is a resident of Estate Bethany on St John in the USVI, is charged with giving false information to a public officer.

Passenger

Meanwhile, the boat passenger Callwood, who resides at Hidden Valley on St Thomas in the USVI, is reportedly a licensed firearm holder back home.

He was charged after he allegedly did not declare the weapon on the Customs Declaration Form upon entering the BVI.

The charges against him are untrue declaration, importation of explosives, and carrying an unlicensed firearm.

The two men will return to court on July 12.

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